Tuesday, May 22, 2012


How many of you have went out to your garden one day to find your plants laying on the ground like something just took shears and cut them off even with the ground. See my red bean plant above. The culprit is cutworms. 

These caterpillars are actually a moth larvae that overwinter in the soil. They tend to emerge about mid May to the first of June and emerge from the soil to wrap themselves around your emerging seedlings and eat completely through the stems killing them. 

There are several things I can do to fight them but my first course of action is pineapple weed. Yesterday I showed you how we remove the flower buds for a relaxing tea similar to chamomile. Once we have removed the flowers take the remaining stems and leaves and place them in a large pot adding enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Now turn the heat off and let the pot sit and steep for several hours.   

It will make a dark tea that smells strongly of pineapple. Strain the tea through a piece of cloth or pillowcase and remove all green matter and let cool.

Then I pour my strained tea into a large sprayer adding enough tap water to top it off. The prepared tea can also be poured into a large milk jug and placed in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for later use. 

Once my sprayer is full I add about 3 Tablespoons of cheap soap. ( NOT ANTIBACTERIAL OR WITH BLEACH!!) Just plain old cheap liquid hand soap. 

Now seal your sprayer and set your nozzle to spray a wide stream.

Now spray your seedlings and the soil directly around each plant down your row.  I like to do this late in the evening as cutworms like to feed at night. This works to deter them from your plants . The great thing is that the pineapple weed always bloom about the time that cutworms emerge so you can usually find it when you need it most.  Sometimes I do it two or three times and especially after rains. 

No pineapple weed? 

Bacillus Thuringiensis works great. And is considered organic.

Some people wrap cans, straw or toilet paper rolls around the stems of their plants. I have way too big a garden for that. That's alot of toilet paper!  

Diatomaceous Earth also works. 

Pick your poison...for me the pineapple weed is the most natural approach and my first choice. If caught early I can usually control them with just one or two well timed sprayings. 

Anyone else have any remedies that work for cutworms?

By the way pineapple weed also deters tomato worms : )

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Great information, CQ. Don't know if that weed grows in Louisiana, but it's still great information to know. Thank you! :o)

  2. This is great info. Thank you!!

  3. Excellent..we use DE for cutworms. Now, do you have a solution for leaf footed stink bugs?

    1. I give my grandkids the DustBuster hand held vacuum and give them a nickel for each one they find and dump in grandma's bucket of soapy water : )

    2. Then we go to the store for ice cream cones : )

  4. Thank you so much! I can't wait to give this a try!

  5. Stinkin' cutworms anyway!!! I've been known to place foil 'round the base of plants just to foil their cuttin' escapades!

    I'm keepin' your recipe for the little boogers. Thanks!

    God bless ya and have an awesome day sweetie!!! :o)

  6. If this grows here I have never noticed it. Okay so now I need to find some seeds for this weed! Those cutworms make me crazy! Plus the medicinal use of this weed. Yep I need to get some growing here!

    1. Ya know rather than trying to establish a weed that is not native to your area I would give STRONG chamomile tea a try. They are in the same family and so similar I am betting it would work also. My cutworms appeared and i have sprayed them with pineapple weed twice and not seen any more damage. However if they do come back I am going to try the chamomile tea for ya and see how that works. That would be easiest as it is available at any grocery store.

    2. That's a good idea. Thanks, CQ!

  7. Maybe we could convince CQ to sell or trade us a few seeds...

  8. I dig through the dirt down the row I see problems to find the cutworms and I squish them. My kids have fun squishing them too. It's not hard to find them.


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