Host plant resistance to insects

By The Old House Web

Host plant resistance to insects


Some plants are more susceptible to insect attack than others. Plants have many mechanisms of defense against insects. Plant leaves may contain natural chemicals that adversely affect insects feeding on them. Some plants have extremely hairy leaves or thick, waxy cuticles that deter insect feeding. Other plants have developed a tolerance to insect feeding that allows them to sustain substantial defoliation without suffering serious injury. These are all considered host plant resistance.

In some cases, certain varieties of a plant are more susceptible than other varieties. For example, many varieties of tatarian honeysuckle are extremely susceptible to attack by the honeysuckle witches'-broom aphid, but at least two varieties, 'Clavey's Dwarf' and 'Arnold Red', appear to be highly resistant. Using resistant cultivars in the landscape can significantly decrease the amount of maintenance necessary for those plants.

Some species of plants are more prone to insect problems than others. European white birch trees are very susceptible to birch leaf miner and bronze birch borer attack. No resistant varieties are available. Avoid problem plants such as European white birch, and select more insect-tolerant plants when possible.

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