Redhed
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:15 am
Location: ABQ, NM

What's eating my plants??

Hi again!

My patio garden is doing well considering I'm a first-timer :) The only problem I seem to be having is miraculously disappearing leaves. Each day the leaves on my mammoth sunflower and runner beans get smaller and smaller. There doesn't seem to be a specific pattern, either. Some leaves start disappearing from the edges with toothy, zig zag patterns and some start from the center with a hole somewhere on the leaf. One leaf on my sunflower was eaten completely off within a week... all that was left was the center vein.

I have looked under the leaves and in the soil for pests, but haven't found any. Could it be a fungus of some sort? My boyfriend recently moved both of these plants closer to the rest of the plants and I'm afraid whatever it is will spread. HELP!!!

The first four pics on this page show the damage:

[url]https://leah-says.blogspot.com/2009/04/whats-eating-my-plants-sniff-sniff.html[/url]

Can anyone tell me what may be causing this and what to do about it?

Thanks in advance,
Leah

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

This early I'd look for slugs first. They love runner beans and I've found a few around here already. Any tracks? Look under rims of dishes, underneath pots.

Could be halo blight but I'm not sure; don't see the discoloration that makes me think fungal. Are you spraying anything other than water? Fertilizer? Or pesticide?

HG
Scott Reil

Redhed
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:15 am
Location: ABQ, NM

Thank you for your quick response, HG.

I haven't sprayed anything other than water, but have watered with MiracleGro plant food once a couple weeks ago. I also watered the other plants with it and they seem fine.

What sort of tracks will there be if there are slugs?

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Slime trails, sort of shiny as they dry. Not like it was put on with a paintbrush, just streaks... Look at night too, as many insects like slugs or weevils feed at night and hide in soil during the day...
Oh and don't fertilize beans as they fix their own nitrogen out of the air (a good trick for a plant, and useful; the indians planted runner beans up corn to help keep the soil fertile and give the beans something to climb).

HG
Scott Reil

Redhed
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:15 am
Location: ABQ, NM

Thanks again, HG! From what I looked up on the web, it does look like slugs are probably the problem. I will take a look when I get home tomorrow morning (ah, the joy of working graveyards).

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27918
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

A little late joining the conversation, but I had similar problems with my sunflowers last spring. They'll outgrow the slugs soon, but until then, surrounding the sunflower stems with sand helps keep the slugs away (as long as none of the leaf tips are touching the ground -- look for any bridges the slugs might use). :D

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Sure, or copper wire (they HATE crossing copper...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
plkelly
Senior Member
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:52 pm
Location: Springfield MO

If it is slugs, you can get rid of them by putting a saucer of beer close to the plant. The slugs can't resist and climb in and drown.

I can't stand to do this, though I know it works. Can't bear the guilt of all those little dead bodies and knowing I caused it. Plus, why waste a perfectly good beer?

Good luck--

Patsy

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

But the other thing to remember there is slugs can smell beer from up to 300' away... kind of a double edged sword...

Hand picking is still the most reliable method, and I'm totally with you on the waste of beer thing, Patsy...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Hand picking is still the most reliable method ....

HG
Ah, yes! It's that time of year again. I go out several times after dark and pick snails, which I promptly squash underfoot. I wouldn't have any qualms about drowning the little buggers, but I believe my dogs (especially the Lab! :roll: ) would drink all the beer before any of the snails could get to it.

I guess they'd be happy dogs ... for awhile, anyway! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Redhed
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:15 am
Location: ABQ, NM

Thanks all for the wonderful advice, but... ummm... I don't think it's slugs. I went home this morning prepared to get rid of 'em all and didn't find any! It was still dark as it was like 5.00 am, and there were none to be seen nor any slimy trails.

I went back later in the afternoon, around 1 pm, and there was nothing then, either. I did notice a few small gnat things buzzing around, though. Could they be the problem you think?

Another thing... they were exposed to a frost earlier in their development. We put them in our shed, but it was still pretty cold. Could that cause the spots and dying around the edges?

EDIT - I just now looked up halo blight, and it looks like a likely culprit. If I'd've looked this up last night, I would have seen it was a better candidate than slugs. :( I read that it can be eliminated in early stages with chemical treatments. Is this advisable or should I just cut my losses, send the runner beans to plant heaven and start over?

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

No maam, you said it a bit ago.Sure frost could have done that and when I went back to look at the pics, it made sense for the edges of the leaf (sort of dry grey papery, right?). But it doesn't explain the spotting, but the small gnats could be fungus gnats and that is cured with BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis) or SC nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae); you can find them here... good company...

[url]https://www.arbico-organics.com/[/url]

:mrgreen:

HG
Scott Reil

UTsports
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:09 pm
Location: Knoxville, Tn

Hello, I hate to jump in on your thred red but I have been having a similar problem.

First I noticed some spots about as big around as a pencil erraser missing from my cayenne leaves. They were in small peat pots on my third story balcony and the sides of the pots would have been easily climable by crawly critters. However, I also noticed that my tomatoes and bell peppers were ok as they were in 5 gallon, slick sided plastic pots.

A day or two later I finally found a bug on my beleaguered cayennes, looked like a small black beetle with red on its top sides all the way to the back, kinda like a horse shoe. I exterminated that vermin, and believed i was finally in the clear.

Today, my tommatoes appear chewed upon. More small circles and some edges missing. The only other thing I have seen upon very close examination are a few gnats, not a swarm by any means. I noticed a brief mention above on how to get rid of gnats, but no one mentioned whether or not they could be eating the leaves, I was wondering if this is my problem? If so, I also heard that cinamon will get rid of them, has anyone tried this? Thanks a bunch.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

The cinnamon will likely work wonders for the gnats, not so much the beetles...

Chewing on leaves is not gnats; sombody else is getting it done. Try a 2 AM wake-up call and check them then; many feeders like [url=https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/beetle/pepper_weevil.htm]pepper weevil[/url] usually like it dark to do their dirty work...

HG
Scott Reil

UTsports
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:09 pm
Location: Knoxville, Tn

Thanks for the reply. I will keep checking at different times throughout the day and night. Sooner or later im sure whatever it is will show its ugly face.

Return to “Container Gardening Forum”