Grasshoppers are eating all my plants. What can I do to stop these pests? Are there plants that are resistant
—Joan Gunter, Longdale, Oklahoma
Reduce grasshopper populations by controlling weeds in and around the landscape. This removes the young hoppers' food source and reduces their populations.
You're not done, however. You need to watch for the remaining hungry hoppers that might move in and chow down on your precious plants.
Late-summer and fall tilling may interfere with egg laying and help reduce populations. Insecticides labeled to control grasshoppers on plants you are treating can help reduce problems, too. Read and follow all label directions carefully, as these can also harm the good insects we need for our gardens.
There are some grasshopper baits that contain the spores of a protozoan that will help reduce the population. This more environmentally friendly approach takes time to work, so you will not have immediate relief from the damage.
You're also on the right track by considering plants grasshoppers tend to leave alone. But if populations are high and food is scarce, these ravenous insects may resort to eating even these, too. Good bets to plant are American beautyberry, artemisia, Confederate jasmine, coralberry, crape myrtle, flame acanthus, iris, juniper, mealy blue sage, mondo grass, rock rose, St. John's wort, vitex and weigela.