University of Florida

Cutworms

If you're starting seedlings outdoors for your spring garden, keep an eye out for damage from cutworms.

These dark-colored caterpillars feed at night on the stems and foliage of seedlings, making it look like someone came through with a pair of scissors and cut them off.

Gardeners may have a hard time figuring out the source of the damage, since cutworm larvae hide below ground during the day.

One way to prevent future damage to seedlings is to create a protective barrier. Cut the bottom off of a paper or Styrofoam cup, slide it over the top of the seedling, and then push the cup into the ground.

Certain insecticides can also be used, but be sure to check whether they're safe to apply to the specific plants you're growing.

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