Sick brugs with twisted growth ... pictures

roselee z8b S.W. TexasJuly 21, 2010

I'm hoping someone here can tell me what is happening with these brugs.

I received two cuttings of an unnamed yellow brug at a plant swap. They grew just fine until a month or so ago when the leaves at the top started exhibiting this twisted and puckered growth. I've checked the underside of the leaves numerous times for aphids or other sucking insects and found nothing. I fertilized them with organic fertilizer and made sure they had enough water in my dry climate of San Antonio, Texas. It doesn't seemed to have helped.

Not three feet away is another unnamed yellow brug received as a rooted ctting from a different person at the same swap. Evidently it is a different variety because the leaf shape is different. As you can see it is doing fine.

This is the bed where they are planted. The two sick brugs are on the right. Behind them are shrimp plants. The bed had an ample amount of rich compost applied in Feb. and all three brugs had time release fertilizer applied when they were planted. They receive morning sun.

Does anyone have any ideas of what their problem might be?

Thank you!

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I had the same problem on mine- I thought it might be that I over fertilized with Epsom salts, but after a while, mine straightened out. Anyone out there with any ideas? I'd be interested to know too!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Roselee, I have never seen anything like that before, usually light green leaves, are corrected by the epsom salt, but the leaves are deformed. I do not think its the weather, since we are both in San Antonio. I am sure one of the experts here can help you. I do not have any brugmansia blooming yet, but they are just now putting on buds. Barbra

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:54AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Hi Barbra! Wow, it's nice to see lots of Texas forum friends on here :-)

Kasha, it's good to know your brug's foliage straightened out. Mine show no signs of recovering. As I said I've checked the underside of the foliage for spider mites and other bugs and it is clean as can be.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:42AM
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new to this site.........and I'm a Texas girl too! Never heard of using epsom salt. What is it supposed to be good for?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:47AM
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Its mites spray your plant and it should fix it mine did same thing. When you see the leaves curl like that I used a product that has spinosad as active ingredient Or if you have bayer its bugs

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 2:04PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

I have the same problem on one of mine but not the others. Thanks for the info, danasplants.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 2:10PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thank you danasplants. I'm not doubting what you say in the least, but I'm wondering how this problem works.

I know mites are very small, some are microscoptic, but I just went out and examined almost every leaf VERY closely with five power jeweler's goggles. I'm wondering why I can find no residue at all such as a spider mite presence exhibits, and if it is another kind of mite, although you'd think if a mite were in sufficient numbers to cause damage like this there would be some evidence. The leaves are clean as a whistle on the underside and top.

Could it be that the mite transmitts a disease of some sort that doesn't travel through the plant but only effects one leaf at a time? And by eliminating the few mites present to infect the leaves the subsequent growth is free from symptoms? Or are the mites inside the leaf somehow?

Also have you noticed that certain varieties of brugs are most susceptable to mite damage than others?

The only insectacide I have on hand is neem oil. Do you have any idea if it would smoother any mites present?

Thank you so much for your help and advice on how to deal with the problem.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 2:50PM
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That is classic broad mite damage. You won't see them, they are microscopic. I think I might have even read somewhere that they are inside the leaf veins, not sure if thats true. I have had them before, and the only products that got rid of them for me are forbid and avid. They are very expensive, so I would recommend trying to find a small vial for sale on ebay or something. You'll see it there sometimes, I haven't looked lately.

I don't know if this would work, but if you can't find/don't want to buy the miticide, maybe cutting that nasty top part of would work, since they seem to most effect the growing tips? I have never tried that.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 5:09PM
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It does look like it could be broad mite damage. If so Forbid works quite well. Like Shawn said it is quite expensive and there's no need for a whole bottle unless you are treating a full greenhouse several times a year. You only need about 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water and you can only treat a few times a year. I alternate with Floramite if necessary. It's another excellent miticide but isn't as effective against as wide a variety of mites as Forbid. You can look on Ebay for a smaller amount but make sure you are dealing with a reputable seller that's not substituting something else or you can see if you can get several people to go in on a full bottle and split it.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 6:24PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Yes, it seems that broad mites are what's affecting the two brugs. This kind of mite is a problem in commercial food crops as well are ornamental plants.

From one internet site:

"Broad mites inject a toxin from their saliva as they feed. Leaves become twisted, hardened and distorted with bronzed lower surfaces. Young terminal buds can be killed. Leaves frequently turn downward. ...

"Both broad and cyclamen mites are too small to be seen without the aid of a microscope. Regular inspection of crops for their feeding damage is the best way to detect infestations. ...

"If detected early, it may be feasible to discard a small number of infested plants. ...

"A number of different miticides are labeled for both cyclamen mites and broad mites. High volume applications and repeat applications are frequently necessary to achieve adequate control. ..."

I think I'll just very carefully dispose of the two affected plants as they would seem most susceptable and hope for the best on the other one.

Preditory mites are also listed as helpful in controlling them in green house situations. Since I've been gardening organically for the most part for a few years now hopefully there will be some preditory mites around to take care of any escapees. They must be controlling the spider mites because I haven't seen them in the yard for ages.

Thanks again to all that replied. No matter how long we've been gardening it seems we learn something new everyday. Not just one thing, but very often it's several things.
Isn't it great that we have these forums with knowledgable people whom we can question.

Here is a link that might be useful: Broad mites ...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 6:26PM
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I also gardened organically until I was hit with the broad mites. Forbid and Floramite are the only chemicals that I use and are pretty much mite specific unlike many of the other miticides which kill indiscriminately. If my infested brugs had been in the greenhouse predatory mites might have been an option but to release them outside was a waste. If you think that Forbid is expensive you should take a look at the cost of the predatory mites used to treat a broad mite infestation!!!!! They are not normally something that shows up in a garden regardless of organic practices.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:01PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thanks for the additional information Karyn about miticides and predatory mites. I appreciate it.

Oldcrafty, epsom salts is basically magnesium with some sulfer, which, as you probably know, is needed in varying degrees for good plant growth, and people need a certain amount, too. They put it in bath salts. But the pure stuff you can buy at drug and grocery stores is good for soaking in after a hard days work in the garden -- like right now ... LOL

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:25PM
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Similar thing happened to my Dahlias, Cosmos and Mirabilis. Some recovered with the use of Garlic water but most of them became curled at the top and I had to pull them up...

I though it was some kind of virus.. now i know the culprits, thanks to you guys!!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 3:31AM
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Now I know why I have never seen this before. My husband is always spraying my plants with liquid garlic, and sea weed. He loves to mix these two, and spray his tomato plants. Barbra

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 12:28AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

That's a good point, Barbra! Spraying with a seaweed solution is recommended as a remedy for spider mites. Maybe it works against other mites as well. I haven't sprayed seaweed this year. I buy it in a bottle. Does liquid garlic for horticultural use come in a bottle?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 11:15AM
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Roselee, I just asked him, he said both are liquid, and he bought them at Fertile Garden, off 1604, right by your house. If you have a garden club membership card, they give you a 10% discount. Barbra

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 12:25PM
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