Why does my chard do this?

champagneJuly 28, 2010

Both my chard and spinach get these wilted, discolored edges on just SOME of the leaves, not all, nor does it happen to all the plants or to any others, like lettuce. Does anyone know what causes it? Otherwise, they seem to be healthy and happy. I plan to get a soil test, but could it be over- or underwatering? Lack of fertilizers, maybe? It doesn't appear to be under attack by bugs.

Thanks for any help.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Mine does the same thing, but I never looked into why. I just figured it was our heat. So Im couriious to hear what others say. :)

JoJo

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

Well THAT would be interesting because I live in the maritime Pacific Northwest and most of the year, including summer, it's wet and COLD here! (Great for chard and lettuce, not so much for tomatoes and peppers).

Looking forward to some more input.....

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

don't know if i can help much, it is doing poorley hey? we grow ours in our autumn/winter/spring here in the sub-tropics, not a good summer crop at all. could i also suggest applying more mulch, this will help keep the root runs cooler and moister and may help your problem.

use spoilt hay mulches they will add nutrients as they break down, also looks like the plant is suffering a lack of nutrient? we feed our gardens continually with our kitchen scraps also but i'd suggest for you an application of an organic pelletised fertiliser under the mulch around the root zone.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Leafminers. Small flies that lay small white eggs on the undersides of the leaves. the young hatch then burrow into the leaf and feed between the upper & lower layers. Can be avoided by using row cover, well secured along the edges.

But do that next year, in a different part of your garden. The insects spend part of their life in the soil. so if you plant in the same area, you will have the same problem.

For this season, inspect often, then squish the parts where the small beasts are feeding. (Hold an affected leaf up to the light; if they're still inside the leaf, you can see one or more lined up at the edge of the "blister" as they feed.) Or remove & discard the affected leaf.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

Thanks for the advice. I must say, though, that the idea of using row covers is not very appealing. To me, much of the enjoyment of gardening is the beauty it conveys with the greenery and interspersed flowers and herbs, the variety and texture, and just looking at the bounty and progress through my windows. Hiding it all under row covers would ruin that. Any other ideas I could try instead???

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 2:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
riverfarm(7)

Champagne, I agree with you, and as long as you're getting some edible leaves I'd continue doing what you're doing. I just had to replant chard because it simply wouldn't come up, but I think part of the problem was that I allowed volunteer flowers to remain in the row and they kind of took over. I'll know better next time. We loved our chard last year, and I'm hoping that the ones I just planted will come through for me.

Meanwhile if I were you I'd just trim those edges off and eat the rest.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

For those interested, my research (after learning the problem is leaf miners-- thank you, jean001) revealed that they are very difficult to control with insecticidal soaps and that row covers is the best method. (Although, since they winter over in soil, I'm not sure how that would help).

Planting VERY early in the spring season, when it's quite cold, tends to reduce or even eliminate the problem. Same for fall plantings. And in fact, I did plant a bit later in the season than normal for me, especially the cooler crops, then we got a long warm spell.

I've made this discovery on my own before with other vegetables, so I understand it. Plant the early crops early because bugs come out when it's warm and you want to grow and harvest before they know what's going on!

So lesson learned..... no procrastinating allowed!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Mine are not showing any sign of leaf miners. And I always scatter where I plant it. I like to use my chard as ornamental among other plants.

I don't have any sort of traditional beds, it's more like a few area's under some shrubs and containers.

They're well composted and mulched. Watered well.

JoJo

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

JoJO, I thought you said yours "does the same thing"? Did you mean in the past but not this year? You would certainly have higher temps than me if you're in Arizona!

Next year I'll plant in a different area, plant sooner in spring, and hope for the best. At least it's not wiping out the entire crop, just a little bit here and there....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi champagne..
Yes, in the past.. I haven't gotten much of the garden in this season. I am just now starting to plant greens.

But I know it's not leaf miners, and doubt fert. or water.. So was figuring the heat.

110 easy in June...around 100 now.. with our monsoons starting.

I grow this in the past, 10 months of the year. Including the dead of summer.

JoJo

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said " (Although, since they winter over in soil, I'm not sure how that would help)."

Very little help if you plant in the same area as was infested in the previous year. Potentially great results if planted in a different site.

That said, the technique of changing the planting date can help.

Also every gardening season is different from all others. The bugs do great some years,not so much another year. That's what happens when you garden. success isn't guaranteed!

Then there's the search-and-destroy strategy. Works very well when the searches are frequent.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoodat

It looks like overwatering to me but not to the point where it's fatal to the plant. Is your soil rather heavy? If you get a lot of rain and the soil drains porly that could be the cause.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

Update: The problem seems to have resolved itself. And I don't think it was leaf miners after all. Just no evidence of critters of any kind on any of the leaves, just the wilted edges.

But I've since put down newspaper mulch with grass clippings on top so it's getting less moisture all over. At the same time, however, our unusual hot spell has also died down, so it could have been either or both of those problems. (Overwatering plus a hot spell).

Just thought readers of this might find it useful. Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 3:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pksinan(z7NM)

Champagne,

Here's what you do. Look very closely at the undersides of your chard leaves. You will see tiny white eggs laid by a particular fly. When they hatch, the leafminer larva will bore in between the leaf membranes and spread fungus that will destroy those leaves. If you kill the eggs before they hatch (and turn into new flies), your chard leaves will be spared. Purchase Pyola from GardensAlive.com. I buy the concentrate and mix it myself. It's a plant based (pyrethrin) insecticide approved for organic use that comes suspended in a refined canola oil base that also serves to smother insect eggs. EVERY DAY, you must inspect the undersides of your chard leaves for these eggs and when you see them, spray them with Pyola. Over time, you will break the lifecycle of this pest and spare your gorgeous chard from this hideous damage.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 11:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

the leafminer damage is at the upper edge of the two leaves on the right. This could clear on its own if the growing season had moved beyond the egg-laying phase of the flies' life cycle

The "crinkled" leaves are likely an environmental glitch -- perhaps wrong temperatures or insufficient water. These conditions could clear on their own.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 12:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

The likely culprit is deficient boron or copper. A quality soil test will point out any imbalances.

Noting the growing tips are effected is a good clue.

Lucullus chard leaves is normally savoyed so not a symptom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nutrient Deficiencies in Garden

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Hey o-dan, OP said "The problem seems to have resolved itself"

Wouldn't happen if a deficiency.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

Deficiencies may occur during a period of wet or dry, result from a regular amendment or application. There are many chemical and biological transactions within the soil with many nutrients influenced by other nutrients. Over a growing season even the plants have influence with their demand for specific nutrients.

Any change in the physical structure of soil will impact on nutrient availability and the soil organisms. The presence of organic matter and moisture are also important.

A soil test is only one tool, the management practices are also noteworthy.

Boron is just one of the nutrients of concern. It has a major role in facilitating internal flow of nutrients. Copper has a key role in cell wall formation. Shortage of either is normally first evident on leaf growing tips.

Consistent moisture does ensure flow of nutrients. Even a brief dry period can collapse cells.

A tissue assessment would give a more detailed view of the causes. Good soil management remains a priority.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Nutrition

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
briergardener_gw

I see the same leafminer damage on my beets and chard. Fighting with this evil for several years on beets. This year i have added chard and got the same problem.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

Been away for a few weeks, came back to realizing that the problem I have (I'm the original poster) is, indeed, leaf miner. The little white eggs were present, no question about it. About half my chard has been affected. I keep cutting and disposing (in the trash can) the bad leaves. I plan on trying the suggestion of Pyola if I have the same problem next year, although I will plant in a different bed.

Anyone know of a way to kill whatever is harbored in the soil? The thought of it hanging around for years is pretty distasteful.

Thanks for all the great input.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chipsnsalsa

Champagne, leaf miners or not, I like the savoyed look of your chard. What variety is it?

Barbara

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Thanks for the update.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
champagne

chipsnsalsa, I planted Fordhook Giant, by Territorial Seed. Aside from the leaf miners, it's doing really well otherwise and is a nice, hardy, tasty chard.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 12:02PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Bone meal....make your own?
Hey, I hate throwing stuff away, even bones, so I was...
idogcow
Informal mycorrhizae trials thread
Background: As a result of the mycorrhizae discussion...
ralleia
(un)Covering a Cover Crop?
I have a couple raised beds. Last fall, I planted a...
bassopotamus
Rock salt and asparagus
Someone told me he contols weeds in his asparagus patch...
kept
Organic way to get rid of Bermuda grass
Probably a hopeless cause, but is there any way to...
kathyp
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™