I think we’ll call this week’s Friday PhotoEssay the “Death & Destruction” Edition. I was out of state since last week, and then was welcomed back home on Wednesday with a lovely hailstorm. Luckily, the garden doesn’t look much the worse for wear due to hail. Unluckily, there are a few things going on that are probably due to the learning curve with our new garden and not much we can do about it.
This pepper plant (and some of the others) are showing this stunted, distorted new growth. I think there are two possibilities – either herbicide injury (we’ll discuss that in a bit), or thrips. We had thrips like crazy last year, but it doesn’t look quite the same to my eye.
I think this is the second planting of this ‘White Egg’ Eggplant, and this plant is already getting heavily chewed. I saw another pesky cucumber beetle on it. For some reason they are leaving the cucumbers alone so far and attacking the eggplant. (Not that I particularly mind that!)
This one isn’t nearly as difficult to diagnose with certainty as the pepper and bean above. This tomato is showing very clear signs of phenoxy herbicide damage. The most common herbicide that causes this injury is 2,4-D. UGH! If the damage isn’t very severe, the plants usually recover from it. If the damage is quite severe, the plant will remain stunted and have much reduced yields. Most of our tomato plants are showing this damage, which isn’t surprising as they are some of the most susceptible plants. (Grapes and redbuds are also highly susceptible.) I can’t tell yet how bad the damage is. The question is…where did it come from?
To be clear, I also suspect that the peppers and beans showing symptoms also have the phenoxy injury.
So, where did the herbicide damage come from? 2,4-D herbicide injury is very common on garden plants in the spring in Kansas because it is widely used to treat dandelions and other broadleaf weeds in lawns as well as broadleaf weeds in corn fields or other crops. It is very easily volatilized, which means it can get on the wind and blow for long distances, especially if someone sprays the herbicide on a day with wind. (Just as an aside, if you really want to control dandelions, you are better off spraying in the late fall rather than in the spring when you see them bloom.)
However, we’ve never really experienced herbicide damage in our garden and we don’t use 2,4-D on our grounds in the spring. It is possible it came from somewhere else nearby. I’m also wondering if there is some other herbicide residues in the compost we got… It is theoretically possible that there was some type of herbicide residue in the feed or bedding the horses used that was not completely broken down during the composting process. If that is the case, there really isn’t anything we can do about it. Most herbicides should be completely dissipated by 1 year later.
It looks like we’re in for a rough gardening year, even if the weather continues to cooperate!
Posted on May 31, 2012, in Help! My Plant is Sick!, Insects Abound!, PhotoEssays and tagged eggplant, flowers, herbicide injury, insects, peppers, plant problems, squash, Tomatoes. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.