Capsid bug

Capsid damage

Question ...

Quite a few of the leaves on some of my shrubs have got small, ragged holes and tears in them. The edges round the holes are always slightly brown, as though they are dead just at that spot. The plants seem healthy otherwise, and I haven't seen anything on the leaves. Is this damage due to hot weather? If not, then what has caused this?

Answer ...

It sounds very much like capsid damage. These creatures suck sap early in the season, when leaves are just unfolding. They make minute holes in the leaf tissue, much too small to be noticed. As the leaf grows and stretches, the holes become larger, and tear. What you're seeing now is the result of this early damage. The brown edges surround the spot where the capsid pierced the leaf and killed a few cells. There's nothing to be done about this. The plants won't die, and next year the problem might not be so bad.

Encourage birds to feed near shrubs by hanging fat and bags of nuts from branches in winter. If damage is extensive, tidy up under the shrubs over winter, raking out leaf litter and clearing away any plant debris, exposing the pests to predators.

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