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Mint and Sage under attack!

In the last couple of weeks, mint and sage bushes growing together have developed a myriad of holes in the leaves.
HELP please!
I am disabled so picking off critters won't be an option for me.
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Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,190
    It's quite possibly some of the smaller snails around just now @Nick Gurney250. Or beetles/caterpillars.
    There isn't a lot you can do if it is. The plants can still be used though, it's just that it's unsightly. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,453
    It’s that time of year I’m afraid … our herbs are showing the signs of wear and tear etc over the months. They’ll be dying back soon. 

    I cut my mint back hard in the autumn and rake any fallen leaves etc up so there’s fewer places for rust spores and nibbling insects to over winter, and I give the area a good mulch with homemade garden compost or similar. 

    I don’t cut my sage back until the spring as it’s a bit less hardy, and a bit of foliage acts as protection over the winter …. in the spring I cut it back but not as hard as the mint. 

    But I think that overall my impression of your mint and sage is that it’s looking pretty good for the time of year.  👍 

    Mint and sage usually need quite different conditions …. mint needs more moisture in the soil and us happy with a bit of shade, whereas sage, being a Mediterranean herb, prefers a sunny spot and a gritty freedraining soil … so that’s something you might like to hear in mind for the future as your plants increase in size. 

    😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,190
    I thought the sage looked pretty good too @Dovefromabove  :)

    Mint is far more tolerant of conditions generally, but it certainly appreciates moisture, so it's definitely a good idea to move it. It can also be a bit of a thug, so it's usually better in it's own little area, so that it doesn't out compete everything else. Many people find it good in a big pot of it's own. Perhaps you could try that too   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks for the information on general husbandry but what I would like to know is what is causing this sudden and violent onslaught?
    Anyone one have any experience of Mint Moth?
    Could this be the culprit?
    And if so - how is it controlled?

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,190
    Unless you can go and pick off pests, no, there isn't much you can do.
    Cutting the mint back as @Dovefromabove describes, can help though.  :)
    I don't grow mint any more, and didn't have any problems with it being eaten,  but someone else may have experience of the moth.
    It also uses thyme and oregano, and other similar herbs, so if you have any of those, you may see moths using that for egg laying, as they're also a source of food for the caterpillars.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,453
    edited October 2021
    We have mint moths on our mint ... we don't regard them as a pest ... I do nothing other than the general husbandry as described to cut down on the numbers able to over-winter around the mint... the effects only seem to become apparent about now, towards the end of the season as the numbers build ... a cumulative effect rather than a sudden onslaught. 

    I don't use pesticides in my garden, for environmental reasons and also for the good of our own health.  :)  

    https://candidegardening.com/US/insects/b3100bd2-31b6-4e73-8f89-6dc8956a51fc
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Nick Gurney 250Nick Gurney 250 Posts: 22
    edited October 2021
    Thanks both for the advice - may try some chilli/garlic tea, sprayed on.

    I had never heard of Mint Moth until I started researching my problem yesterday!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,453
    edited October 2021
    They're pretty little things ... providing pollination for our flowers and fruit, and food for small birds. 

    I doubt whether chilli or garlic will deter them. The caterpillars will already have turned into adult moths and flown away by now
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    I always had the same problem but had holes and marks on the leaves from much earlier in the year (mint, oregano and thyme).
    So I split some of them up / took cuttings and planted them in other parts of the garden so I now have about 4 or 5 locations where I grow herbs around the garden.
    Every year some of the plants still get holes and spots on the leaves, but other patches seem to be left alone, so I pick from those plants.
    Mint is easy to split - just a bit of root will do, and you could take cuttings easily from the sage.
    If you have the space try that method - it's worked well for me.
    Sage likes well-drained soil and sun, mint prefers somewhere a bit cooler and damper.


    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Update.
    With the aid of my wife's good eyes I have discovered that the plants seem to have on them tiny brownish flying things that fly off when disturbed.
    Too small and fast to identify.
    Discovered another mint further down the garden that has been stripped to sterns.
    They have also just stared attacking a Salvia.

    I would say I have only noticed the onslaught in the past week or so.
    What are they!!!
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