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I have had this Baptisia / False Indigo plant for over 15 years and has been amazing in the spring, including this past spring. Within the past month some of the branches have turned brown and died. First I thought they were broken by deer jumping over my fence to devour my garden. Today I was cutting things back and saw the real damage. What is it and will I lose the plant? My neighbors have the dreaded tent capillary, could that be doing it? Thank you. Nancy


Baptisia / False Indigo Plant Dear Nancy,
There's definitely something chewing and eating your Baptisia. I do not believe it is the Fall Webworm Caterpillar (not tent caterpillar) eating your plants. The Fall Webworm Caterpillars prefer only the leaves of trees and do not kill the trees that their nests are in. It looks to me like some kind of larvae damage in the seed pod.

I would suggest that you cut back your Baptisia and put the stems, seed pods and all leaves in plastic garbage bags and dispose of off your property. I would also dig around the plant and see if there are any beetles or other types of caterpillars, etc. in the soil and remove them.

The leaves show the Black Spot fungus which is from high humidity and/or overhead watering of the leaves. This plant prefers a dry soil environment, so don't over-water it. To deter Black Spot, make sure the plant is in full sun (6-8 hrs. of sun/day). In addition, if the plant gets very thick, cut some of the stems to the ground to allow air flow and sunlight to penetrate the inside of the plant. Good luck.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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