Leafroller on Hydrangeas

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(Answer)

An earlier post on our website, Hydrangea leaf curl with worm inside  discusses Leafrollers, which are moth caterpillars, in some detail.  It also mentions that another moth caterpillar, the Hydrangea Leaftier, can cause similar damage.

The good news is that, with either of these pests, the damage to the plant is mainly cosmetic. Simply remove the affected leaves and crush the caterpillars and make sure that that the ground around your hydrangeas is kept clean of debris.  Keep checking the leaves at least once a week, it may take awhile to get rid of the insects!

There are pesticides that may be used if the infestation is large, but these are rarely needed.  And as the critters are so well sheltered within their rolled up “nests”, pesticides simply may not reach them, so may be ineffective.  Note that each jurisdiction has different laws in place about which pesticides may be used, and by whom.  We do not have information about what may be used in your state.

Finally, please note that information provided by the Toronto Master Gardeners is intended for home gardeners in the province of Ontario, Canada.  In the future, we suggest that you check with the Massachusetts Master Gardeners for your gardening questions, e.g., the Help Lines , which provides both contact phone numbers and email addresses.   They would also be able to recommend products that may be used in the event of a major infestation with leafrollers.