Kimiko
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Kale Leaves Wilting and Dry

Hello!

I've planted two different types of kale about a month ago. They were thriving at first but then I noticed the outer, older leaves began to wilt and lose it's springy-ness. They almost feel as if they're dry and papery as opposed to crisp kale leaves.

The dryness looks like there has been some acid thrown on it (not really what happened but just saying how it looks). I've also noticed some transparent looking patches or holes. I don't know if this is attributed to insects, mold, or sun exposure. Some leaves also turn a sickly yellow color with little green splotches here and there. The kale gets decent sunlight at least 4+ hours a day. The sun isn't too harsh as it's morning and evening sun. I water about once to twice a week. The garden bed is filled of a mixture of garden soil and chicken manure. I sprayed a dish soap, oil, and water mixture to get rid of some bugs (once or twice a week) and I also put dichotomous earth around the bed for pest protection. I tried everything I can do... I can't find the solution. More leaves are dying each day - please help a desperate gardener!! Pictures attached for reference. Thank you for reading this long post.
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applestar
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

I need to know what the high/low temperatures have been like where you are.

- But several things come to mind — when you planted them did you acclimate them to the sun? Are you confident that they are not suffering from sunburn/scorching?

- waterings should not be schedule based but Ned to be directly observed — feel the soil, probe with fingers 2 inches down after watering to make sure the water has been thoroughly absorbed. Once you have the correct “feel” for how much to water and how well they are watered, ne assess how fast the soil dries, THEN you’ll be able to “wing” it. But this step is crucial in the beginning of gardening season

- “sprayed a dish soap, oil, and water mixture” — were you spraying because you had specific pests or are you spraying preventively? What was the exact formula/recipe you used?

- any spray containing oil will cause burning and drying if direct sun hits the droplets Could this have happened? This can happen where droplets were as well as where the spray had pooled at the end of leaves. Take closeups/macro photos if you can.

- the yellowed leaf with dark green spots — this makes me think either fungal infection or sucking insects like aphids under the leaves

- the last two photos with white clusters — look underneath those leaves ... post photos if you have more
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applestar
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

BTW Welcome to the forum! Looking forward to seeing your garden grow :D
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digitS'
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

applestar wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 5:50 pm
... sunburn/scorching?

- “sprayed a dish soap, oil, and water mixture” — were you spraying because you had specific pests or are you spraying preventively? What was the exact formula/recipe you used?

- any spray containing oil will cause burning and drying if direct sun hits the droplets Could this have happened? ...
This was my first thought. These sprays are contact insecticides. If the pest is missed, there is a good chance that it will survive. Therefore, the plant gains nothing and must deal with the foreign material that was sprayed on it.

Dish soap is not a benign substance. It may be safe when used for washing dishes and be easy on human hands but a plant is neither. I would prefer to use insecticidal soap. Either sets up the plant for burned leaves and it is really a good idea for me to spray in the evening and return the next morning to wash the plants with fresh water.

Steve
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Kimiko
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

Hello applestar and Steve!

Thank you for your quick response and warm welcome! Means so much. Please see below for my answers to your questions:

- High and Low ranges from Mid/high 80s during daytime to mid 60s at night.

- I don't think I acclimated them to the sun (or that I even know how to?) The nursery directions said to give it FULL SUN. And I put it in a spot where they get 7AM-11AM sunlight and 4PM-8PM sunlight. So it's not too harsh but it's still a decent amount. It has been getting hotter lately though. I'm not 100% confident that it's not sun scorching, I'm not sure. However, I don't think the leaves are crispy but they're more wilted and limp and feel papery.

- Would you suggest to water it when the top 2 inches are dry? I usually do one inch and then water the kale... which is typically twice a week since it's getting warmer.

- I started spraying the mixture because I saw tiny little red pinhead sized spider looking insects (I believe they're called Clover Mites) and one small white larvae eating at a leaf. I got worried so I made the mixture of 3-4 cups of water + 1 tb of olive oil + 2 tb dish soap + a few drops of cinnamon + eucalyptus essential oil (I found online)

- I think that might be the reason why since I usually spray the solution mid-day and the evening sun might cause the leaves to burn.

- Do you guys have any recommendations for fungicides or pesticides that are safe to use on vegetable garden? Or to deal with aphids? (I've seen one or two on some undersides of my leaves.

- Close up pics attached - hope it helps. Thanks in advance!
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digitS'
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

You are being very helpful with finding solutions for your problem, Kimiko.

Sometimes, in the garden, you may have to be a little complacent and let nature sort things out without intervention. It's very difficult for a new gardener to judge dangers and how far to allow things to go.

When I first began using dish soap it was with advice from Colorado Cooperative Extension. This is not the same webpage that I read years ago but it seems to have good advice. Notice what is said about concentration of the soap/water mix: "soap-detergent sprays are always applied diluted with water, typically at a concentration of around 2 to 3 percent (Table 1)." Next we see that 3% is 2 Tbsp per quart (4 cups). You are using the maximum recommended then adding oil to it.

The directions on the label of insecticidal soap that I use says 5 Tbsp per gallon of water.

Steve
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applestar
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

DigitS has a good point. Dish “soap” is very often detergent and is harmful to plants — very easy to burn them and can in fact be useful as herbicide. I use pure liquid Castile soap such as Dr. Bronner’s. For the oil-based recipes, olive oil is a bit too heavy unless you use the several times refined/processed oil. It’s better to use lighter oils like canola. I tried sunflower oil once — mice got in the garage where I kept my seedlings nursery, and ate 4-5 inch TOMATO seedlings with up to 1/4" diameter stems down to stubs. FYI.

- Your closeups are making me wonder if you might be having whiteflies — have you noticed tiny white flying insects fluttering up?

- I’m not entirely convinced that the mites you saw were pest mites — beneficial predatory mites are larger than pest mites and faster moving. HOWEVER solution containing oil is effective for killing mites, while aphids and whiteflies don’t need oil, just soap and alcohol. I do prefer to rely on natural predators if possible though and rarely spray.

- I agree your solution might be a bit too concentrated especially for younger, more tender plants/leaves — add more water. I have to admit I only use about 1 tsp per quart and 1 Tbs per gallon (more precisely “measured” as 1 squirt or 1 dribble). I also add a splash of rubbing alcohol and might also add a generous pinch of baking soda if the plant is OK with higher pH and frequent treatment is needed

- OR — if fungal infection is suspected/anticipated — 1 tsp/QT 1Tbs/Gal baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or more frequently now POTASSIUM bicarbonate with a squirt of soap and oil.

- I rinse too

...OK I read the linked article — only explanation For my amounts I can think of is that Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap is pretty concentrated.
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imafan26
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

You might consider looking at the leaf under a microscope or with a 40x hand lens called a jeweler's loupe. They are available online and I have found some locally in variety stores as well.

Drying at the margins of the leaf can be caused by sucking insects. It does not look like sun damage. Sun damage usually looks like bleaching and it does not affect only the edges. Thrips, mites, aphids and white flies can all cause that kind of damage. The underside of your leaf does look a bit like white fly (the white powdery stuff) At the top of the image, the bumps are visible and maybe aphids. To test for mites (which are spiders), you can tap the leaf onto a sheet of white paper and see what falls on it. It you see tiny specks of paprika and wait a little bit, you might see the specks moving.

temperatures in the mid 80's can be problematic. Soaps can kill aphids but don't do much to white flies and nothing to mites. Thrips are not that hard to kill, but they have a wide range of hosts, so you will need to spray plants around them as well. OIls cannot be used if the the temperature approaches 90. Actually, I don't use oils after the temperature exceeds 86, unless the plant is somewhere where I can protect it from the sun for at least a day.

Sulfur is another option. I also cannot be used above 90 degrees, but I at least my plants seem to tolerate it better in the heat than oils. Do not use sulfur withing 30 days before or after any oil or the plant will definitely burn. Sulfur actually works better against mites than soap or oil and it also has antifungal properties against powdery mildew. It has been used for literally thousands of years as an antifungal and insecticide.

https://npic.orst.edu/ingred/sulfur.html

Sulfur is sold as a dust or spray. The dust needs to be wettable or it will have a hard time sticking. In usually comes in a sprinkling can, but for insects, it is better to use a duster or mix a solution to spray. It comes as a spray as well. Usually it is called sulfur spray, or orchard spray. The RTU formula usually also has pryrethrins, unless you get copper sulfate. With any pesticide always read and follow label instructions. Sulfur can be an irritant especially on the skin. So it cannot be used on a windy day and I either use long sleeves or a tyvek suit, shoes, gloves, and a hood to protect my face. I also have a mask so I won't inhale the dust.

Another option would be Kaolin clay, usually sold under the brand name Surround. It is not temperature sensitive and it has a broad range against many insects. I can only find this at an agricultural supply, it is not commonly sold in stores here.

To be honest, my first defense is not chemical. If the plant is very weak, I get rid of it. Kale is easy to replace. If it is salvageable, pick of the worst infested leaves and hit it with a jet of water under the leaves everyday to blast off pests. It usually reduces the numbers of pest so the plant can thrive. Optimize growing conditions, good air circulation, good soil, fertilize and water as needed. Kale does best in cooler weather. It can grow throughout the year in warm climates, but the leaves are best used for smoothies since Kale is sweeter when it is cold. I do have a good garden patrol and I grow both dill and fennel in the yard but not more than 10 feet away from most of the garden vegetables. It is o.k. with gingers and gynuura. Almost everything else it will stunt as soon as it blooms. I have white fly and thrip problems, but I rarely have issues with aphids. I usually live with the thrip damage since I don't want to impact predators. I only control thrips on orchids.
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Kimiko
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

Hello everybody!

Thank you for all your kind and quick responses. After reading all of your advice, I decided to stop spraying the oil/soap mixture altogether. The next following days, I just sprayed the leaves with water to brush off any insects and I kept a close watch for any aphids, insects, eggs, etc. I'm happy to share that my kale is doing a lot better. No more wilty, dead leaves. At this rate, I'm almost positive that it was the concentrated oil/soap mixture that was killing my kale. Thank you all for your wisdom to this newbie gardener. Attached is an image if anyone is interested.
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TomatoNut95
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

That's lovely kale!

As a matter of fact, my mom's been having a severe aphid problem on her plants to. Since I'm more of a gardener than she is, she naturally expected me to help her. I gave her my bag of DE. She said it didn't work. I told her about @Garys hot pepper/soap spray, and I picked one of my chill peppers to make a spray for her and the pepper turned out to be too flat/heatless to use. So she made a dish soap/water mix herself but she said that didn't work either. I don't know what to tell her now.

I'm having to deal with worms. Small, squishy stopped brown worms. I guess they're cabbgae worms, they attacked my Tiny Tim tomato plants pretty hard. I do my best to just hand-picked 'cause I'd rather not put Sevin Dust on everything, and insecticidal soap doesn't always work.

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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

Absolutely NO to SEVIN dust. I will attach a link to that discussion later if no one else does.

...here it is... use the link to the full description. But even if you have no concern for the environment, or possible carcinogen (or that it Has been banned in EU and other countries for over a decade) one of the human effects is difficulty breathing — do you really want that RIGHT NOW?

Subject: Please read before you spray poisons! INFO

rainbowgardener wrote:
Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:12 am
SEVIN (carbaryl)

Product names: include Carbamine, Denapon, Dicarbam, Hexavin, Karbaspray, Nac, Ravyon, Septene, Sevin, Tercyl, Tricarnam, and Union Carbide 7744.

Class and uses: Carbaryl is a wide-spectrum carbamate insecticide which controls over 100 species of insects on citrus, fruit, cotton, trees, and other crops, as well as on poultry, livestock and pets. It is also used as a molluscicide and an acaricide (against ticks and mites). The chemical name for carbaryl is 1- naphthol N-methylcarbamate. It is a neurotoxin.


— you can always just hard spray with water as long as your area is not In drought and under water restriction. Aphids have tiny legs and it will be a long way for them to climb back up once blown off by the water jet. CONTROL the ants with ant bait (borax and Anything sweet - Take your pick : sugar water, leftover juice, candy, cookies, Sweetened yogurt — Personally, I REFUSE to use perfectly good new sugar when I have choice of Sugary crumbs and dregs)

— spraying water on aphids — if you watch closely, aphids‘ short legs make the finely sprayed water bead between their body and the plant, which suffocates their breathing holes located near their leg attachments to their body. So when water is sprayed, they stretch their ittybitty legs and lift their bodies Up and away. So if you go and Jet spray them AGAIN, they are holding on only with their teeny tiny claw tips, making them easier to blow away. :twisted:

— with caviat emptor: my garden has been chemical persticide/herbicide-free for over 20 years — I don’t spray anything that kills insects on contact or systemically (which by definition to me are Chemical poison) and certainly would not Recommend indiscriminately spraying without assessing the pest vs. predator population. In my garden, I can always find ladybugs somewhere In the garden to catch and put on aphid-infested plants. I usually don’t have to do anything much because other aphid predators like aphid mummy makers and hoverflies, green lace wings also Arrive when the aphids are here. AGAIN - ANTS defend the aphids so they need to be controlled.


...@tomatonut, your worms are likely pinworms or tomato leafminers. (cabbageworms do not eat tomatoes — only dual pest I can think of are armyworms) If so, you can use Bt for caterpillars — WITH care so as not to affect desirable butterflies as and moths.
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

I've actually got two worm problems, the small, dark brown stripped worms are also eating my onions greens and I found a large green inchworm in my Tiny Tim tomato. Nasty things. 😝

No, I would not want to harm any cute butterflies or moths. I only want to stomp on and destroy anything that eats my garden. 😆

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digitS'
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

I have had problems with aphids in cabbage and kale, probably in 9 out of 10 seasons.

Insecticidal soap has worked well applied early. Cabbage especially has a problem because their large leaves curl and shield the bugs. Contact sprays have to contact the life-sucking critters!

In 2018 and '19, I learned that strawflowers attract so many yellowjacket wasps and ladybugs that the cabbage needed no further protection other than these watchdogs. It was amazing but I had known that yellowjackets drink nectar as well as eat bugs. They were on continuous patrol. LINK to 2018 HG post..

So ... I have more cabbage this year, probably than ever -- with no strawflowers :? . Imma gonna need to be very conscientious and very attentive, traveling around with my spray bottle of insecticidal soap.

Steve
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TomatoNut95
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

Miraculously I did not have one bit of trouble with cabbge worms on my cabbge this Spring. It's now that I'm having trouble with little worms. I guess I will hunt for my old bottle of insecticidal soap if I haven't lost it or threw it away. I stopped using it because it killed something I last used it on, I don't remember what it was...I know it was a young veggie plant that was being attacked by flea beatles or aphids.

imafan26
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

I have anoles and I don't plant cabbages year round or every year. I have had some cabbage butterflies find my plants, but I have not had large infestations, so I think the anoles are doing their job. I think I only found one cabbage worm under a leaf in the last three years and saw three cabbage butterflies total for those two times.
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TomatoNut95
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

I have the anoles to, but mine aren't doing their job when I keep finding those stinking worms on everything.

imafan26
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

The mynahs are better than the anoles at getting the caterpillars. I have a lot of lizards in my yard. I used to have geckos but they are very rare now. I have at least 20 anoles in the back yard and the same number in the front yard. I have skinks, mostly in the front yard and I even saw a Jackson chameleon once, although, I haven't seen any since. Then there are the house geckos. They are the only things the cat does not get tired of chasing. Most of the birds in my yard are fruit and seed eaters. The cattle egret will come right after the grass is weed whacked and will pick up anything that moves, it is usually the lizards that get caught, but worms will too. My grass/weeds are not the kind that is favored by worms.

My garden is filled with earthworms. It is hard to dig into it without cutting an earthworm. The lizards are usually standing by ready to pounce on any tasty worms while I am digging and I have only caught one cabbage worm on the collards. The rest are being taken care of by the lizards. They also eat flying insects and mosquitoes. I only have swarms of fruit bugs, that are more of a nuisance than anything else. It usually means I have to find and pick up the rotting fruit.

A healthy and active garden patrol takes care of most of the issues. I only have to put out snail bait because I don't have a chicken or a toad, and cover the seed trays and fruits because bulbuls are rats with wings.
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TomatoNut95
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Re: Newbie Gardener... Kale problems. Please Help!! SOS.

I wish I could borrow a mynah from you. My anoles don't do a good job. I hate skinks, 'cause they poop all on my porches and it's disgusting. I don't like poop on my porch.

My pest eaters either don't do their job, or they're too little too do their job, just like the microscopic mantis that was on my pepper. The worm that was eating on my Big Bertha could've swallowed that mantis whole. 🙄

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