Myoporum plants, which are native to Australia and New Zealand, include several popular ground cover and tree species that are widely planted in California for erosion control and because of their aesthetic beauty, minimal management needs, and low water requirement. Until relatively recently, California plantings have not been bothered by any insect pests. Since 2005, however, an exotic thrips species new to the United States has caused great damage to Myoporum in landscape plantings and nursery stock throughout the coastal counties of California. Thrips damage to Myoporum is characterized by gall-like symptoms and distortion of new leaves. Terminal growth can be severely stunted and leaf curling or folding, with thrips populations present within the folds, is common and eventually leads to the death of the plant. Thrips populations in infested areas have grown to extremely high levels and large landscape plantings have been severely impacted. Until UCCE got involved, there was no scientific, research-based information available on the pest.
Read about: UCCE solutions for invasive pest problem on popular landscape plant | View Other Stories