Shredded Okra

chickencoupeJune 15, 2014

Bugs. The okra I placed in rows are shredded from bugs. Will they be okay when it warms up? It really hasn't been hot consistently.

The ones planted amongst the buckwheat is bothered but doing better than the other.

I could always plant more, so I'm not too worried about it. I don't understand the lifecycles of all these bugs, yet. I think it's a combination of bugs, really.


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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It just depends on how much the leaves are damaged. You need a certain amount of leaf surface intact so it can absorb the sunlight and conduct photosynthesis. If you aren't doing anything to address whatever pests are devouring the leaves, maybe you should do something.

In my garden it is grasshoppers that are chewing holes in the okra leaves, so when I go out into the garden in the mornings, the first thing I do is walk down the aisle next to the okra plants with a lint roller in my hand. I reach out and grab as many hoppers off of as many leaves as I can. They have not yet learned the lint roller is a threat so it is pretty easy to touch them with it and once they're stuck to it, they are as good as dead. You only get one chance because they are fast learners and will start hiding from you when they see you coming in the future. Sometimes I carry a pair of sharp scissors in my hand and quickly snip a hopper in half when I see it. The other day, I carried a bowl of soapy water with me and flicked them into it. That works with most bugs as long as you are quick to flick them before they figure out what is going on.

Praying mantids will catch and eat the hoppers, but there's never enough praying mantids around to control the hoppers, which is unfortunate. The problem with the praying mantids that severely impacts their ability to be really helpful in the garden is that they will eat anything---even other praying mantids.

If you aren't seeing grasshoppers or something else eating your okra leaves during the day, you might try checking at night with a flashlight to see if you can catch snails or slugs eating them.

To get okra, your plants have to have a chance to recover and make new leaf growth so they can begin producing pods, and that can be difficult if the pests continue to devour the foliage. Okra plants can tolerate a lot of pests, but the smaller/younger the plants are, the harder it is for them to overcome being eaten.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 6:03PM
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Yeah. These are small. And almost stripped bare except for the new leaflet coming in. I'll go out tonight. I really haven't seen too many hoppers.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It could be almost any leaf-eating pest. Usually, if they are doing that much damage, you see them doing it, unless it is a night-feeder like snails and slugs. I just mentioned hoppers because they are as thick as the blades of grass here, and they are doing their best to devour my okra and most of my herbs.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:07PM
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I need to get over my issues and just use that Spinosad, already. I'll look tonight. If it's not worms or slugs, I'll put a plastic cloche over them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:55PM
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I have thousands of baby grasshoppers here, the most we've ever had. I broke down today and sprayed a pyrethrin spray on some nonfood plants in the garden. They're eating our beans and okra badly.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:30AM
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When I went out last night I found zero evidence of slugs. But I did see a baby hopper perched atop the nutsedge right beside a riddled okra! Darn things.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:32AM
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Are you SURE it's bugs? Not birds? Pics of the damage? I have no answers; just curious to see if what's happening to me is similar.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:38AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


And here I thought I was living alone in the grassshopper nightmare! There's so many it is just ridiculous, and I know that you and I both are well-experienced in the cycles of grasshopper predation. To me, it seems like the "up" part of the cycle must be here now, and I think you've had it the last 2-3 years, just as George has. About the only thing we can hope for is that we have some "down" years ahead of us, unless the warming climate causes big shifts in how their population cycles up and down. This reminds me of the very late 1990s/very early 2000s.

We've had some bad hopper years before, but I don't think I've ever seen as many in my garden (or, as far as that goes, anywhere on our property) in the month of June as we have now. On Sunday, I noticed some tomato cages were hosting dozens of hoppers per cage just sitting on each cage. They weren't on the plants feeding when I was in the garden. Probably they already had eaten and were just sitting there digesting their meal.

I've been putting out Semaspore for a couple of months now, but it is so windy that it seems to blow away quickly. I know some of them are eating it and dying because I find the dead hoppers in my garden, but there's probably 200-300 live ones still around for every dead one I see. I'll be putting out the last of the Semaspore this morning. That will be 5 lbs. I've used since late April. It doesn't work as well once we get hot, otherwise I might have ordered 50 lbs.

I was hoping the heavy rain would knock back their population, but instead it seems like all it did was cause more to hatch because I saw some tiny ones, about 1/16" to 1/8" long, in the garden yesterday along with the larger ones that vary from a half-inch to an inch long. I haven't seen many yet in the garden that are real big, but the big ones do fly up out of the fields when we mow. They have eaten the okra, the hollyhock and the zinnias down just about to bare stems. They haven't touched the beans yet, which seems odd, but I'm not complaining.

The garden has been filled with songbirds eating grasshoppers, but we have far more grasshoppers than the birds can handle. At some point I may have to break down and spray something, but I sure hate to do it.

My plan for today is to get out to the garden soon after daybreak, harvest whatever needs to be harvested, and then spend the rest of the day canning. I may spend an hour or two doing something to attempt to control the grasshopper population, but it seems hopeless because no matter what you do, more of them just fly in from the surrounding area. I have to do something, though, or there won't be much of a garden left.

Bon, I was trying to think of what else might eat the okra leaves. Later in the summer it could be blister beetles. They are voracious leaf-eaters, but I haven't seen any here yet this summer. They usually are more of a mid-summer and late-summer pest.

cold weather is evil, You have birds eating your okra plants? I've never seen that here, but I have heard some people complain that birds bite off their okra (and sometimes tomato) seedlings a short distance above the ground and then leave the seedlings lying there---they don't even eat them. We've wondered if they were trying to get moisture from the plant stems when they do that.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:56AM
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