My questions deal with plants I have planted in eastern Bandera County.
1) I have a number of Texas Mountain Laurels being eaten up by small caterpillars. What are these? What times of the year do they appear? What can I do to control these critters?
2) I have several escarpment black cherry trees that get numerous pin head size black spots on their leaves every summer. The larger trees don't show any other symptoms, but the leaves of the smaller plants will soon turn brown & drop; the whole plant will die back to the ground, coming back up from the roots later on in the season. What is causing this & how may I prevent it?

The Mountain Laurel caterpillars, Uresiphita reversalis or Sophora worms, come with the new growth so seem to be present as long as the plant is actively growing. They can be easily controlled with one of the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) products. This is sold as BioWorm Killer, Thuricide, Dipel or such. Also Ortho's product Orthene will kill the caterpillars on contact. I do not know what is causing the leaf spot on the black cherries. It sounds like a fungal problem and might be controlled with a wide spectrum fungicide such as bayleton. One brand name is Green Light Fung-Away.

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