Re: [gardeners] cutworms

George Shirley (
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 17:47:15 -0600

margaret lauterbach wrote:

> Okay, let's go back to garden fundamentals.  How do you foil cutworms?
> Many people put a nail or a toothpick adjacent to the stem of a seedling,
> and claim that deters cutworms.  I've always wondered about this because it
> would require the cutworm circling the seedling to see if there was
> something that would prevent his chewing all the way through the stem.  I
> talked to Dr. Bob Stoltz, Extension entomologist in Twin Falls, Idaho, last
> week about this, and he said to the best of his knowledge, that was not
> indicative of cutworm behavior.  He thought people who deterred cutworms
> with the use of toothpicks or nails had just been lucky.
> You can't use toilet paper rolls because a)you'd risk trapping the cutworm
> inside the roll, and b)they deteriorate quickly anyway.  Paper cups would
> trap cutworms inside, too.
> I have split sections of drinking straw and fastened those around seedling
> stems, but it's difficult to do that without injuring the seedling.  So I'm
> interested in what the rest of you gardeners do about cutworms.  Margaret L

We've pretty much beaten the cutworms in our garden through judicious
applications of Bt and hand-picking plus a good tilling in the dead of winter
to get any worm larvae that are wintering over. We did use cardboard coffee
cups once and I have a friend who uses 1 lb coffee cans to deter them.