What eats rhubarb leaves?

oldryderMarch 19, 2013

This year will be the 3rd year on my rhubarb plants and I'd really like to do something besides feed whatever the hell it is that eats the leaves every year. I haven't spotted the culprit(s) so I';m guessing it's something that feeds at nite(?).

tried BT assuming it was some type of caterpillar but no luck.

suggestions anyone? I do not have damage on any of the other plants in the same area (blueberry, onion, potatoes, peas, beans, & strawberries)

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glib(5.5)

Very strange. They are so toxic (deadly to humans) I can not envision any large animal eating them. slugs? for slugs, go out in late May at around 10pm, with a flashlight, they will shine and be seen readily.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:03PM
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mrsg47(7)

I see slugs on mine occasionally.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:23PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

That would be my guess, too.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:58PM
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glib(5.5)

then bring also a quart yogurt container full of soapy water. Pick the slugs and drop them in the water, and keep them in water overnight. I used to pick one hundred a night off my vegetables, then after the first 1000 I bought a can of Sluggo.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 5:48PM
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ghoghunter

The only thing I have ever seen eating my rhubarb leaves is Japanese beetles and they seem to really love the leaves. I don't much care because it doesn't seem to harm the plant and at least they aren't eating something else like my roses! If the damage is occuring at night then I would also think slugs.
Joann

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 6:14PM
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larry_gene

Both slugs and certain noctuid moth caterpillars (cutworms) will eat rhubarb leaves here. Easily spotted well after dark on the underside of leaves. They tend to camp out at the base of the plants and if the rhubarb supply is adequate, they might not venture out to nearby plants.

Slugs also tend to chew an elongated trench in the rhubarb stems.

Two or three diligent night-time plucking/drownings will cut down the population for at least this season.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:28PM
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pinc06(6b)

I've seen deer eating my rhubarb leaves. I can't really tell if the damage you have is small bugs chewing or just roughly bitten off to the stem area. If the latter it could be deer. Yes, I did warn her it wasn't good for her but she didn't listen. It was one of the few uncaged growing items at the time.

Pam in cinti

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:58AM
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TheDerek

Slugs eat mine also... I think you can set a trap with beer in a can or something like that.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:12PM
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northwoodswis4

Something big enough to knock down the chicken wire ate mine. I assume it was deer. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:22PM
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oldryder

Sounds like slugs because I have also seen the "elongated trench" mentioned above. One more pest to learn how to control.

Everyone thx. for responses

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:31PM
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northernmn(3/4)

Yep, I betting it's slugs too. I have picked slugs off of my Rhubarb and my fruit plot isn't that far from your's oldrider.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 10:57PM
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marc5(6aOH)

Japanese beetles hit my rhubarb very hard during some summers. Sevin works wonders against them.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:02PM
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tarbucky(Z4 CO)

For slugs, you can trap them with beer in a container at ground level - you'll need to partially cover it so it doesn't get watered down from the sprinkler or rain. Stinky cheap beer is good, like Milwaukees Best or Olympia. Also save your egg shells. Crush them and put on the ground where snails are troublesome - they'll cut the snail when it slides over the sharp edges. I thought my rhubarb was being destroyed by earwigs but now I agree with everyone above and think it's slugs.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:07AM
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mrsg47(7)

slugs. use slug bait pellets which are poisonous to the slugs. However, holes in my rhubarb plants never bothered me since they are inedible and I just eat the stalks.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:50AM
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melikeeatplants

Agree Mrs G. I have slugs all over them but the plants grow great and I'm only concerned with the stalk, couldn't care less about holes in the leaves.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:58AM
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larry_gene

...unless there becomes more hole than leaf, affecting stalk growth. This can occur when the leaves are still immature and are tucked into or under the mature leaf canopy.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:38PM
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