Basil damage question

bbsmylieJuly 10, 2009

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So this has been a good basil plant for me thus far this summer. I have made two big cutbacks on it for some pesto, and it has grown back like a champ each time. However this time I am getting these rust colored spots on all of my leaves. Brand new leaves seem to be pretty clean so far, but everything I left after my last cutback has the spots on them. The plant has been pretty bug free for me, there were some mites (spider?) at the beginning of the summer, but they were taken care of manually and with a little spray. It has been really wet here, pretty much the only thing i have so far.

Any help in figuring out the problem will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Difficult to say for sure. I have seen similar, but smaller marks due to minor insect damage from leaf hoppers (kind of like very small grasshoppers), but you say no insects. My second guess would be a fungus of some sort. Try not to get the leaves wet or let them stay wet overnight i.e. water early in the day. It wouldn't hurt to spray with Neem oil-it acts as both an insecticide and a fungicide.

Your otherwise beautiful plants look like they need to be cut back even further, I see some flowers forming.

F. DeBaggio

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 12:24PM
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Thanks, I appreciate the help. yeah, they definately need to be pinched back a bit more, I stopped paying attention to them when they started looking bad. I did have some insects at one point, most likely spider mites (tiny, red), but it was never an infestation, and I haven't seen any in a couple of weeks at least.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 1:05PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Basil seems to be more prone to leaf spot diseases than other herbs. I believe that that is what your plants are suffering from. It would be worthwhile to try the neem, but I would do a leaf test first, I think, at this time of year. Some neem products can cause burning in hot temperatures.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 2:32PM
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My apologies for a complete beginners questions here... I get the idea of a leaf test, but can you give a hint of how or where I could get a leaf tested?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 2:44PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

I think what rhizo_1 means is to test the Neem spray on a small section of the plant first before spraying the whole plant. Very good advise indeed-thanks for clarifying. Also, spray in the evening when it is cooler and the sun is not as likely to burn Don't spray when the air temperature is above 80ºF just to be safe.

F. DeBaggio

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Ah, apparently I fail on reading comprehension. Thanks for the help all.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 3:57PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You read it perfectly. We just needed frances to clarify. :-)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Well, this spring something actually ate huge holes in my basil AND my mint! Not sure what the critter was that did the damage, but suddenly, nothing is eating the plants any more. Whatever did it is gone!

My basil was sending up blooms like crazy, and I read it roots easily in water, so I picked 6 stems with leaves, stuck them in a glass, changed the water daily, and after 7 days roots appeared. Now the roots are legion!! I am going to plant my new basil plants under the drip system for my grapevines, and I notice that after the big cut back on my original basil, it has tons of new leaves!

Ain't growin' basil grand?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:08AM
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