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MichaelC
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What's wrong with my peppers?

My peppers don't seem to be doing very well this year. I have been on the hunt for pests at night, but haven't found anything. Any suggestions?
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pepperhead212
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

I don't know all of the pests you may have out there, but looking at the widespread eating of those leaves, I would guess caterpillars or slugs,. At least this would be what I would look for here, though maybe somebody from nearby can give you some other ideas.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

? pepperhead ? I looked at all those pictures in enlargement and did not see anything I would call "widespread eating of the leaves." The last picture shows one hole in one leaf and several of them show minor damage to some leaf edges, which might or might not be from being eaten.

What I did see: Picture 1 shows a bunch of webbing and something nasty by it that might be frass. Picture 2 shows a couple brown spots that might be burned or diseased (maybe bacterial spot?) and a bunch of little black spots that look like maybe mold or mildew. Picture 3 shows severely cupped and puckered leaves. A number of things can cause that - if they accidentally get spray/ wind drift of herbicide, calcium deficiency or root problems that make calcium uptake difficult, or severe damage by some sucking insect like aphids. The last picture shows some leaf edge damage as well as more of the cupping and puckering and another of the brown spots.

I can't come up with one thing that would cause all of that. I would start by giving it a good dose of compost and spraying the leaves with ACT compost tea. Don't use synthetic fertilizer, which will just be another stress on already very stressed plants.
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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Hi Rainbow -

Yes, it seemed like a mish mash of problems to me as well. You are correct, there is very little visible damage from leaf eating pests, I have them well under control via Sluggo.

The soil is very good this year. Though a calcium deficiency is possible, my soil test did not indicate that it would be an issue. Calcium levels are high, and so is the cation saturation percentage for calcium. I am using Dr. Earth fertilizer that is mixed for foliar feeding. I have only just started feeding my garden last week, due to the soil test results indicating almost ideal fertitlity.

I can easily add some more compost. How long might you suggest I wait for results before giving up on these plants? I am a novice gardener, but it looks to me like a problem that would spread.

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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

The puckering of the leaves and you don't see pests under the leaves could be mites which really like peppers and come out this time of the year. That type of curling and puckering of pepper leaves is typical of aphids and you should be able to see them if you look under the leaves.

If you do find aphids, put out ant bait and hose off the pepper leaves with a strong jet of water. Horticultural oils and soaps will also work. I have a problem with soap as it causes the leaves of my peppers to curl unless I wash it off ten minutes later and I cannot use horticultural oils when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, which is like every day here.

https://www.chilefoundry.com/2012/03/16/ ... er-plants/

https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/broad_mite.htm

This was the most complete guide I could find on common pepper diseases and pests.

https://www.thechileman.org/guide_disease.php
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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

I have treated them once, about a week ago, using Safer insecticidal soap. I'll give it another try. We did have some high temperatures a month or so ago when these were newly planted, but things have been pretty moderate since.

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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Since aphids and mites are usually on the bottom of the leaves, remember to spray the undersides of the leaves well. If they are in pots, I find it easier to mix up a five gallon bucket of soap or horticultural oil and dunk the plants head first for a few minutes. It guarantees good coverage.
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Breanna.link
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

hmmm do you have any smokers that live with you do you smoke it could be tobacco mosiac virus

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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

zoom in on the second picture. Could those be white flies?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Not TMV (tobacco mosaic virus) which gives much more patchy/ checkerboardy/ mosaic like blotches of yellow and green and is much more rare than people think. You not only have to have a smoker, they have to have contacted the actual tobacco (not just paper, etc), the tobacco has to have the disease (obviously not all tobacco does), and then they have to touch the plant before they have washed their hands. The only easy way to do this is either people who work in tobacco factories/ farms or people who are heavy smokers and roll their own, so they are handling the tobacco a lot.

Image
https://ephytia.inra.fr/en/I/18049/Tobacco-tabac153

tobacco mosaic virus
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Breanna.link
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

hmmm I just thought it looks similar I remember when I saw an entire field taken out (cannabis), after some hippies did work for free, yes they rolled their own, thought it looked different on different plants/the vascular system would make a different outline/mosaic, I don't let my husband anywhere near my seedlings....

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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

imafan26 wrote:zoom in on the second picture. Could those be white flies?
Unfortunately, no. I'd guess that was a trick of the light, I'm terrible at taking photos. I wish it were, as it's an easy fix (which steps I have taken anyway to be on the safe side).

Hopefully, if I have the time, I'm going to drop by the farm that sells these seedlings this weekend to pick up some new plants, and if so will bring some leaf samples from the problem plants to get an expert local opinion.

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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Well, I decided to leave these plants in the ground. While they seem stunted, they do not seem to have spread disease to any other plants, and we enjoyed a few tasty Padrons yesterday. I don't have much basis for comparison. This time last year, my seedlings were just getting planted. Having planted in April this year, everything seems like a new adventure.

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sweetiepie
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

If it was aphids, wouldn't they go for the tomatoes first? I am new to aphids but they love my potatoes and then move on to the tomatoes, mustard greens, broccoli and herbs. I haven't seen them on my peppers but maybe they have enough other things in the garden. I know I will never get rid of them because the fields surrounding me are full of them and then the farmers come by and spray and they move into the garden.

I would leave them, I guess I plant more of things intentionally for disaster because I have room, so I tend to leave plants, as long as it isn't a spreading disease. I would think something like that might come out of it and even catch up to the other plants depending of course on your weather. I tend to chalk weird things like that on the weather anyway, with our diverse conditions it is hard to not have issues.

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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

A lot of things like peppers
Puckering and deformation of leaves are usually the signs of sucking pests
Aphids will come for the new growth. Spiny aphids are the ones I usually see on eggplant and peppers but other kinds may be out there. I haven't seen spiny aphids in years since I have a very active garden patrol. They look like brown spiny burrs.
green aphids would be under the leaves. All kinds of aphids, scale and mealy bugs may be tended by ants, so I put out ant bait (terro in the garden around citrus trees, lemon grass, and peppers that are the regular ant magnets and that keeps both the ants and the sucking pests under control. Lady bugs will not go after aphids if the ants are defending them and I can hose them off or use alcohol, soap or oil to control them.

White flies are seasonal they are under the leaf. Their eggs are in swirls and the adults flitter around when the leaves are disturbed. Purple lady bugs eat them. They are really bad every couple of years. They are hard to kill with chemicals so I just hose them off and annoy the hell out of them and cut back host plants.

Spider mites come out in the hot dry days of summer. A good hard rain will usually wash them off. You will see stippling on the leaf and bronzing on the other side with webbing. Tap a leaf of on white paper, if you see paprika that moves, that is what you've got.

Pepper thrips are big they like to fold leaves in half and have a party, so I pick those leaves off and toss it.

Broad mites are harder for me to i.d. they cause the same kind of stippling like spider mites and can also cause the deformation of the leaves, but I usually see their damage but don't see them. I just use the oil, alcohol or insecticidal soap when I see the beginning of the damage. A lot of the time, they have done their work rasping inside flowers and young leaves, by the time you see the damage as the fruit and leaves get bigger, they have already moved on.

Snails and slugs are a constant PIA. They are winning.

Leaf miners are a minor problem if I see the larva bump, I squish otherwise they don't usually do more than cosmetic damage by tunneling trails in the leaves.
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sweetiepie
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Thanks imafan, that is great info on bugs. What kind of alcohol can you use? Rubbing or like beer or rum or etc.? Oil such as vegetable, I am guessing not motor oil? Can you use lard that is melted down? I have lots of butter. Can you use that?

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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

I use 70% rubbing alcohol straight out of the bottle. You cannot use it in the heat of the day or it burns. It works on most things. Simple green works too.

Inside the house I use windex, 409, and tylex on bugs. The only thing it doesn't kill are the soldier ants, they are a tougher breed of ant but the workers die quick. Flying insects drop like a bomb.

Here are some other home remedies from Dr. Koob of the UH extension service.
https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/uhmg/downlo ... ecipes.pdf

Usually you would use a light oil like cannola or vegetable oil. You want to stay away from the animal fats, that tends to attract vermin, for the same reason you want to avoid animal parts in the compost pile. Lard likes to cake when it gets cold so it might not be a good thing on the plants.

However, cow milk makes a good fungicide for roses and powdery mildew on other plants.

Put your pantry to work, cinnamon has been used by orchidists for years as a natural fungicide sprinkled on orchid roots. You do have to repeat it though it doesn't last a long time.

The milk recipe varies from site to site 50:50 milk water to a 10% solution, organic vs skim milk. Whatever works! One orchid grower used 2% milk to dip her pruners in (after each cut) while cutting her orchids flowers to prevent disease transmission.

https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1484689.htm
https://groundtoground.org/2011/12/27/na ... ur-garden/
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Alcohol would be rubbing alcohol, although beer makes a good trap for slugs. Put the beer in a shallow dish, like maybe a jar lid, and bury the dish slightly so that the edge is about level with the ground. Slugs come and drown themselves in the beer.

Neem oil is used against any leaf eating bugs. Spray it on the leaves. When the bugs ingest it, it disrupts their systems and stops them from eating and eventually they die. Other oils, such as horticultural oil can be sprayed on bugs to smother them - clogs their spiracles so they can't breathe. I don't know that lard or butter would work well in a sprayer. A light vegetable oil might. But that only works when sprayed directly on them. Neem oil can be sprayed any time and taken in when they eat it.

But aphids and stinkbugs are not leaf eaters, they are pierce/ suck and so the Neem oil would not work well against them, except used like any other oil, sprayed directly on them.
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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

I really don't think the problem with these plants is coming from insect infestation, though I suspect it may be a disease that peppers are prone to, spread by insects. I think the disease came from one mini bell plant that I bought from a garden store, when I should have known better. I knew it didn't quite look right. It was the last one on the shelf of a variety I particularly wanted to grow for my young daughter, who is finally showing some interest in eating peppers. The other three plants were from a very reputable local farm, and looked perfect when I put them in the ground.

I'll take some current pictures of these four pepper plants and post them tomorrow.

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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Here are some pictures I took of my padrons. We ate a few good tasting fruit from one of them the other day. The nasty spot in picture four is a bird turd.
peppers1.jpg
peppers2.jpg
peppers3.jpg
peppers4.jpg

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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Big changes for my pepper area! A local gardening expert told me today that an atypical bacterial, airborne blight came through the area this year due to weather conditions and he thinks that's what hit my garden.

1) I pulled the poor little mini red bell plant. Its fruit were mostly blighted.

2) The padrons and orange bell seem to be miraculously recovering from what was ailing them. These three plants came from a very reputable local grower, Love Apple Farms, and I'm highly impressed with their resiliency!

3) The expert I met today, at a gardening fair, had a few flats of free pepper plants on offer in addition to his seeds he was selling. How could I say no to free? I couldn't. So four more plants went in the ground this evening, about three more than I have room for.

I hope the new plants do well, they looked very healthy. He said they were extra inventory from a commercial grower friend. They were quite tall, about a foot, with most of the lower leaves stripped off, and a bit root bound in their tiny starter plugs. I was instructed to bury them just like tomatoes, and having done that, they look just like normal pepper seedlings.

I suppose that this thread has run its course, unless more disease pokes out its ugly head. I will post pictures in my garden progress thread.

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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

Thanks for the update. The plants did not look like they had a typical disease problem. It really does look more like pest rather than bacterial or fungal problem. I would like to know more about the new disease if you have any more information.
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MichaelC
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Re: What's wrong with my peppers?

I'm sorry, imafan, I wasn't able to get any more info than that. The guy had lots of customers and was pretty busy. Some updated photos are in my garden progress thread.

*edit* I wasn't sure if an Image

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