What is cutting off growing tips of pole bean vines?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAJune 30, 2014

We planted pole beans, and they quickly started to climb a cattle panel trellis, and I noticed late last week, from the window, they didn't seem to be making progress now. Yesterday I was able to get out there and check them and I see that almost all of the vines are missing the top leaf, with the stem of the leaf still there, with a clean cut.

No one can get in the yard. The vines are about 4ft off the ground. The only suspects to me are birds, insects or maybe squirrels, but I haven't seen squirrels for awhile.

Will my vines grow a new growing tip and keep going up?

2nd problem with my beans, I'm not getting lush growth the way I would hope. We just created new raised beds this year and had to move all the soil from previous beds to these, so I'm wondering if that is having any effect.

I have been putting fish emulsion/seaweed fertilizer on them once a week. I am now wondering if I shouldn't try adding alfalfa meal around the base of them?

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Well, there is some animal eating the tips of those vines. I wonder if it isn't a groundhog? Groundhogs (a.k.a. woodchucks) can actually clime, and when they are young, they do so willingly. They would tend to graze on the tender growing tips. You're probably going to have to find the culprit and eliminate it.

As are as fertilization of of your beans goes, I'd say stop doing it. That's almost certainly too rich and can actually cut production. The most fertilizing I have ever done for beans is to mulch and let the mulch decompose.

Hope this helps!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 12:56PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hmmâ¦.a groundhog? Gosh, I hope not. We had one a long time ago but not since. Well, if it is an animal, it's sure not a rabbit, which I haven't seen any this year any way. It wouldn't be a squirrel? Birds don't do that right? We have never seen a raccoon in the neighborhood. We have had possums once in awhile.

My problem this year, is I've strained my achilles tendon and docs orders, no squatting, no kneeling, and taking little tiny steps, which is just the kind of news gardeners love. [g] So I've been out in the garden a lot less in the past month, since the vegetable garden was planted. And I'm spending time on the other side of the house and can't see out to the garden without making a deliberate effort to. Quite different than most years.

Wondering about the groundhog idea though. I have a bed with mature lettuces and brassicas that are untouched. A tomato and basil bed, untouched. Squash and Melon and Peppers in another bed, untouched. There seems only very small disturbances in the garden that I'm seeing. For instance on Saturday we planted small basil starts and the next day, one of them was slightly disturbed. Two of the leaves were pulled off and lying on the ground next to the plant and there was a small indentation, that looked like a slight attempt to dig at the base of it. To me, that is typical of squirrels. The other three basil plants were not bothered. Bush beans are untouched. Same with cucumbers and radishes in the same bed.

I think in these circumstances, I may have to let the culprit do whatever until we spot him. I don't have someone who can check the garden more often for me. I am going to see if my husband can take a tour of the garden at night with a flashlight to see if anything is out there at least.

Thanks for the suggestions, gave me something to think about. And I won't fertilize the beans any more. :-)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Look for green stink bugs. They're the same color as the bean plants. In my garden they eat the newly formed, tiny beans and flowers. You have to look closely to spot them. Hold a can of soapy water under them and they will drop into the can. Oh yes, and they stink. They smell like the beans, only worse.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:26AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That's interesting. I'll look for them, thanks. I did look out there this morning and noticed there is a volunteer Dill plant growing right behind one bean vine, that has about four branches broken down to the ground this morning. When I saw that, I thought maybe I do have some animal climbing the trellis. I keep checking on that out the window through the day, but haven't seen any thing. Still haven't gone out at night yet.

Luckily I did decide to do bush beans too this year, so if I don't get a crop, I may at least get beans from the bush beans. I HOPE! lol

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 8:36

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:34AM
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