Pepper leaves curling

urbangardenfarmerMarch 24, 2010

The new growth on my pepper plants are curling and twisting. I had a thrip problem a couple weeks ago, so I sprayed the leaves and drenched the soil with azamax. I'm wondering if the leaf problem is a result from the azamax, or the thrips? The Ph is 5.8 and the ppm is 600 or 1.6 EC.

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Azamax is based on Azadirachtin, right? But while Azadirachtin is effective against greenflys and aphids, it's rather ineffective (or not strong enough) against thrips. I've been using Azadirachtin based products on several occasions in various strengths and found pepper plants very tolerant for it. Furthermore (unfortunately) the symptoms you plants show are deadly sure the ones of heavy thrip activity.

What I am using against thrips you may ask? It's a self made "natural" insecticide based on black pepper, garlic, hot peppers, tobacco, some curare-like mashed lianes (contain a lighter neurotoxin) plus neem flower (azadirachtin), a few tomatoes, onions, molasses and EM to accelerate fermentation. Well yes, this brew needs to be manufactured in advance, as it needs to ferment for several weeks.

PS: recipe upon request.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:50AM
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lucas- almost sounds like a salsa recipe!

I need to look up thrips now, good luck with this urbangardenfarmer.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 3:31AM
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Lucas, please send the recipe. The thrips are practically gone, except for a couple here and there in the flowers. Do you think the plants can recover!? Do you think the plants have a virus or something like that from the thrips? I'm SO discouraged! You live and you learn I guess? Tomorrow I'm ordering beneficial pirate bugs and nematodes! This means WAR!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:06PM
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I haven't expressed that I am actually very sorry about what's going on there, urbangardenfarmer. But what can I say... Indeed thrips can be carrier of any pest, fungal infections or else. Viral infections (like mosaic) very feared, are actually more rare in fact. It's a bit like malaria: although mosquitos are the carrier, there must be an out brake in the neighborhood until they will be.

I lost hundreds of pepper plants per season with sometimes symptoms I couldn't fully diagnose myself and actually were diagnosed at the near pest control as being affected and infected by multiple pests, like thrips, fungal infection, etc.

What I can say about yours is that a fungal infection can also lead to some hormonal disorder that causes leaf deformation of that kind.

The key word with peppers is preventive care; inoculation with anti fungal fungus like trichoderma (sounds wired but is very effective) and prophylactic spraying with some "strong repellent - mild poison" as this recipe recommended in Thailand by local pest control:

50gr black pepper (powder or grind peppercorn)
50gr chili powder (hot)
50gr tomato paste
50gr tobacco (stalks, waste is just fine)
50 gr garlic
50gr onions
50gr neem (flower, coarsely ground, meal, whatever is available)
50gr onions
50gr molasses or brown sugar

50gr long pepper (if available) - if not a pinch more black pepper and chili

Preferably used: the adequate quantity of EM (effective microorganism)

Use cocktail mixer or food processor, etc to mince and mix all ingredients.
Put in a bucked and add 4-5 liter of water (1 -1/4gallon). Make up the EM solution and add to the mix. Let ferment anerobically (aerobically for a few days first) for at least 2-3 weeks. In case of immergency you can use it after 2 weeks, but better is to let it ferment for much longer, let's say 2-3 month.

Filter well and bottle.

Use 50-80 cc (milliliter) of the brew per 4.5 Liter of water for spraying.
50 cc for more frequent use, every 2-3 days and 80 cc for weekly treatment of affected plants. Important: use/add an "adjuvant" when spraying.

Prophylactic spraying every or only every 2 or 3 weeks (depending on season and climate, actual danger) , but be aware of the nicotine content. Plants may or may not fully metabolize.

PS: if you are afraid of TMC-virus, - simply sterilize the tobacco for 5 mins (adequate time before taking fire) in the micro wave!

Take all adequate and proper security measures necessary to every step of the procedure..Do I need an official disclaimer and add all possible health risks here, to exclude being charged or prosecuted in the US, by some random fool that cannot take responsibility for his/her own actions? I hope I don't! LOL

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:37PM
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One more thing, to not exclude it. If some "oily" Azadirachtin based product is used (sprayed) excessively and/or repeatedly, it may also clog the leaf's pores and prevent proper transpiration. This could indeed be responsible for some leaf deformation. In fact these symptoms are sometimes observed (temporarily) with capsicum chinense, when they grow too rapidly and IN COMBINATION with heat stress. But I've seen these symptoms appearing without any excessive spraying of the sort.

What you can always do (if there is a suspicion of too much oily substance) is carefully "showering" the plants to somewhat clean out the product - and reduce light/heat, actually moving away the lights for some time. Do not stress the plants in any way when "sick". Take good care of- to not under- or over watering them, no heat no cold. Do not overdo or add random treatments at this state. In fact, basically treat them like some weakened patients first...

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 11:37PM
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Thanks lucas! That's a lot of useful information.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:18PM
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