How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Climbing cutworms

Cutworms are dull brownish, smoothed-skinned caterpillars with various markings. They curl into a C-shape when disturbed. Various species may damage apples or pears. They are commonly active at night.


Cutworms can climb into trees and destroy blossom clusters and new leaves. Foliage damaged in summer has a holey, tattered or stripped appearance; damage is most severe in foliage around the trunk or where the cover crop has grown into the tree.


Generally, problems occur only where tall weeds are growing near tree trunks. Remove vegetation around the base of trees and use mulch.

Spotted cutworm feeding on bud
Spotted cutworm feeding on bud

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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