User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27651
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Tomatoes (and peppers) plagued by mites... but recovering

Tomatoes (and peppers) plagued by mites... but recovering
...(hopefully)... :wink:


I've mentioned elsewhere that I released predatory mites earlier in the winter on my overwintering peppers and other plants in an attempt to forestall repeat of last year when they were devastated by mite infestation (some TRM {tomato russet mites} as well as possibly broad mites and/or cyclamen mites). Moreover, last year, my tomato seedlings that I started later in the winter were severely infested and I had some heartbreaking losses.

The predatory mites were mostly successful. Almost all of the peppers that were initially showing signs of mite infestations have recovered to some degree. Some look really fantastic. At this point, I feel confident that once they can be put outside where the Garden Patrol regulars can have access to them, the mature peppers will be able to continue to recover and grow for the season.

Now my concern is for the new tomato seedlings. A small number have started showing signs of mite infestation and I lost about 1/2 dozen so far. I have been nestling the most recent patients among recovered pepper foliage in hopes of having some of the predatory mites that may still be present to transfer over to the seedlings.

I thought I would share photos of what the mite does to the plants first. So in the first collage, note how the mites destroyed all the growing points in the leafnodes. Peppers are so resilient that they will try to grow out dozens of buds from each node -- that's what all those blasted bumps are. When they are incapable of getting ahead of the mite infestation and every possible growing point has been blasted, the entire branch will become useless even though the tattered mature leaves might remain. Then the peppers will try grow a new node from somewhere lower down. With tomatoes, the top growing point is destroyed first, then the tomato will attempt to grow a single new bud from each leaf node. If all the above ground leafnodes fail, they will try to grow from the buried leaf nodes or possibly they are capable of generating a new bud on the stem just above the roots IF the root system is strong enough.

According to my experience last year, very young seedlings were not able to recover while older seedling were sometimes able to grow an entirely new plant even after they had been left with nothing but a single leafless stick.

Image

The plants in the next collage are showing signs of recovery:

Image
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
Lindsaylew82
Mod
Posts: 2116
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 1:26 am
Location: Upstate, SC

Re: Tomatoes (and peppers) plagued by mites... but recoverin

I'm so glad we don't have those here! I don't have anything helpful to add, but that recovery looks really good! Last years new growth looked excellent as well! Hopefully those predatory mites will keep the job up!

Been missing this place!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27651
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Tomatoes (and peppers) plagued by mites... but recoverin

Image Lindsay is back! Image

*****

I forgot to show the rest of that <stick> in the top-left photo:

Image :wink:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27651
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Tomatoes (and peppers) plagued by mites... but recoverin

O-KAY! DRUMROLL PLEASE!! ::)


Tah-Dah!

Image

"What are we looking at?" You say?

On the left side are seedlings that were treated with 'asmx91's mighty mite mix' ;)

Top left -- These are the first three seedlings, treated and put under the Garage V8 lights. I believe it was the 3rd morning after treatment when I discovered that the seedlings were MISSING all their leaves. Gone... completely. I wasn't sure what to think about that -- a mouse? But these are TOMATO LEAVES??? I treated them again by spraying the sticks top of the seedlings (...and hoped the mouse had managed to get himself a really bad tummy ache from his greediness). Next morning, I found the sad remains of viciously chomped up sticks as you see here. DEFINITELY MOUSE. I sprayed them again (though I realized now that it must be the sunflower oil in the mix that had tempted the mouse) then covered each with cut off plastic bottles. ...and set our two kitties to patrol the garage every day. 2nd day, one of them caught a mouse. Image that was 3 days ago. You can see that one of them was too severely damaged by the mouse and died, but the other two are recovering and growing new leaf buds. Image

Bottom left -- These three seedlings in 9oz cups are the ones I started to treat in the house after discovering the sticks. They are showing some stress from the oil treatment but look recovered from the initial mite infestation. Image

Top right and middle right -- These are the seedlings I had hoped would be rescued by Indoor Garden Patrol predatory mites (although only with existing population and not by releasing a large number directly on the plants). Among the14 seedlings left to chance predatory mite rescue, 3 are still looking healthy and unaffected by mites, and 3 are struggling/hanging on/recovering. The rest are in poor condition from massive infestation or already dead. :(

Bottom right -- Here in the front are some seedlings I have started to treat since two days ago. These are more severely infested and damaged than the ones I started to treat at early signs of infestation. Image
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Return to “TOMATO FORUM”