Why do my pepper leaves look like this??

AustinGardenTXMay 23, 2014

I have jalape�o and bell pepper plants in my garden that have been doing well and growing full and healthy but now the leaves are damaged and warped! Is something eating them? Or am I doing something wrong?? Combination of the two??

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!!

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Pest damage?

Josh

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:26PM
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don555(3a)

Looks like a bad aphid infestation. Look on the underside of the leaves.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:38PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Agree with aphids mine did that and I had a but load of aphids on my plants. Been battling them for the last 2 months already. Got them somewhat under control and my plants look much better but I have to check daily cause they keep showing up in my area big time right now.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 2:48PM
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tomt226

I'm just east of you in Bastrop County, and have some plants that look like that too. Probably bag worms eating the leaves, but the crinkling may be a deficiency. Try some BT spray for the worms. Might be grasshoppers too.
Get a bag of Tomato-Tone 4-6-8. It has 8% calcium and is 100% organic. Put a couple hands-full around each plant and water it in, and the crinkle should disappear. Plant looks good besides that...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:18PM
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greentiger87

If you don't see any visible pests... then I'm almost certain it is "chilli thrips" - Scirtothrips dorsalis.

Insecticidal soap or summer oil, sprayed once a week and focused on the new growth, will take care of the them easily. They live on the underside of the leaves, but are extremely tiny and hard to catch in the act.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:49PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Whatever it is it must be contagious. I live about 60 miles upstream from Austin and have 3 plants like this. I assumed it was nitrogen fertilizer burn since I got lazy and re-potted with MG Moisture Control this year. I've been been treating them with Jobes Organic 2-7-4 w/calcium, mag, and sulfur the last couple weeks, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

Chilli thrips huh? Off to get some soap...

This post was edited by mecdave on Sat, May 24, 14 at 8:49

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:46AM
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esox07 (4b)

I think you have a Pepper/Garden Lettuce cross there.
But seriously, it could be caused by pests, viruses, soil or nutrients. Even overwatering.
If you can't narrow it down, start with the easy solutions and ones that the least invasive. Insecticidal soap is a good first try. It is easy and natural. That will work on several pests. I am guessing it is a pest problem. The leaves look otherwise pretty healthy so I think you will be fine.
Bruce

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:35AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Update: I just got back from town and noticed that many of the pepper plants at the big box stores had the same problem. That pretty much rules out a soil problem. Could be we're all over watering, but most likely it's pests.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 12:00PM
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woohooman

No aphids?

Btw, the sulfur should take care of the mites/thrips. Or are you talking about SOIL sulfur?

If you are using fungicidal sulfur, do not use 2 months before or after any oil treatments or during hot(>80F) conditions. Temp warning goes with ANY pesticide.

Good luck.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 12:51PM
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AustinGardenTX

Wow! Thanks everyone!! I think I will try the soap first and maybe cut back on the watering just in case. I probably am too generous with the water :)

I appreciate the help!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 12:58PM
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esox07 (4b)

Most new pepper growers are "too generous with the water" so don't feel bad.
Bruce

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 1:12PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Woowooman - My first thought was aphids too, but I haven't found any.

The sulfur I mentioned is part of the Jobe's Organic. Good tip on the fungicidal type though.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 2:09PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

No one has mentioned the possibilities of virus disease and/or herbicide drift/volatilzation and/or contaminated organic matter, the latter including potting soil

How do you deal with weeds? I ask because looks very similar to damage from 2,4-D, a common, widely used material to kill broad leaf weeds. Often included in weed-and-feed products, too.

This post was edited by jean001a on Sat, May 24, 14 at 14:59

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 2:56PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Posted by mecdave 8 Tx/HZ 9 (My Page) on
Sat, May 24, 14 at 12:00

Update: I just got back from town and noticed that many of the pepper plants at the big box stores had the same problem. That pretty much rules out a soil problem. Could be we're all over watering, but most likely it's pests.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I think it is pest too. Can you see the edges of some leaves chewed/eaten ?
I would give it a good soak of NEEM oil spray first.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 5:23AM
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tomt226

Found a few aphids on my Ghosts, and they don't have crinkled leaves.
The crinkly leaf syndrome seems to go away when the leaves mature.
All these plants are under drip irrigation so over-watering shouldn't be a problem.
I've only seen it on Numex Habaneros, and Corno di Toros. None on the Lemon Drops, Ghosts, tree habs, or Thai Hots.
A good indication of aphids is a shiny substance on the tops of the leaves. The aphids migrate from the elm trees to everything this time of the year, especially when there's little rain...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 7:40AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Yeah, I treated mine with insecticidal soap yesterday. Of course we got a nice spring shower 4 hrs later and it's thunderstorming this morning. But I'm not complaining!!! :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:03AM
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woohooman

Not such a bad thing with the rain, mecdave. One should rinse off their plants a few hours after applying anyway.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:15AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Hmmmm... the instructions (MG brand) say not to apply if rain is forecast within the next 24hrs. Well, rain is now forecast every day for the next week, so I'm glad I did it when I did. Thanks for the tip.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:27AM
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woohooman

Yeah. Overnight is best. And I suppose 24 hours would be fine also, but the problem usually is it gets warm and bright in the summer So, to decrease chance of damage, rinse.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:33AM
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AustinGardenTX

Thanks so much everyone!! I will try the insecticidal soap and maybe not water so much. I know I might be too generous with the water hose :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

I just ran across this Texas A&M article on Chilli Thrips. Guess which of my plants are showing thrip damage? Yep, Tabasco - a thrip host plant!

Good call greentiger87.

Update: The more I read about CTs the less I like. Here's a more recent article...

http://agrilife.org/etipm/files/2011/01/new_pest_invaders.pdf

"Infested plants become stunted or dwarfed, and leaves with petioles detach from the stem, causing defoliation in some plants."

Another link from a rose website:
http://www.ars.org/chilli-thrips-dont-let-em-bug-you/

They're recommending Suffoil-X oil for treatment (veggy safe but not cheap).
http://www.bioworksbiocontrol.com/products/suffoil-x.php

Here is a link that might be useful: A&M Chilli Thrips.pdf

This post was edited by mecdave on Sun, May 25, 14 at 22:23

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 8:53PM
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tomt226

mecdave,
Thanks for the good info. We grow a bunch of roses too, and have had thrip problems for years, but we control it effectively with Merit, something I wouldn't use on veggies.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 6:09AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

You're welcome Tom.

Unfortunately I'm now seeing signs that they've spread to most of my other peppers. Will now take the actions recommended by the rose site. Hoping insecticidal soap works...

* Cut off all parts of the plant that have evidence of damage.

* Bag the trimmings, tightly tie up the bags and send them to the landfill. Do not compost the infected plant parts.

*Begin a spray rotation with a product proven to control chilli thrips.

* Rotate the selection of chemical treatments in order to avoid the pest becoming resistant to the treatment. It is advisable to continue treatment applications for at least 6 weeks.

* Watch the plants for repeat symptoms of pest feeding. As symptoms reoccur �" repeat the process.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 7:57AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Just an update on the chilli thrip infestation. I've now treated with insecticidal soap twice in the last 2 weeks, and just now switched to Ortho's Insect Killer as per the suggestions in the above post. I'm spraying them in the evening and rinsing them off in the morning. Note the Ortho requires you to wait a week before picking peppers, so pick any ripe ones before you spray.

I also trimmed all the bad leaves off the plants shortly after the 1st application of the insecticidal soap. Most of the plants didn't require much trimming except for the Tabascos... the host plants. One of those three plants looked a bit naked after trimming, but all three have bounced back in a big way. One is even starting to blossom for the first time. They may make it yet, although I'm still seeing a bit of thrip damage on the new leaves, thus the switch in insecticides.

So at this point I would say the chilli thrips are treatable without the expensive Suffoil-X oil, but I'm not claiming victory just yet.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:05PM
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tomt226

Mecdave.
Ordered a quart of Monterey Insect Control With Spionsad and sprayed all peppers and affected roses three days ago.
It's available for $38.99 at Rosemaina.com, and is 100% organic. Uses four tablespoons per gallon of water. The spinosad is also effective on caterpillars as well as thrips.
I don't see the same leaf condition on other peppers, only the Numex Suave Orange, and a little bit on the Corno di Toros.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:58AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Yeah the cheapest I've found the Suffoil-X is $40 for a gallon... a lifetime supply for me. I just can't see spending that much for a treatment that needs to be rotated out to prevent building up a resistance. Thus I'm sticking to the various $5 spray bottles for now. I'm sure if I had prized roses I would do whatever it takes, up to and including tenting the whole property and bug bombing it! :)

PS Last night I actually saw a couple adults on my super hot seedlings inside my workshop, and a couple plants already have wrinkled leaves. Grrrrrrr Call in the haz-mat team. This is gonna get ugly.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:09AM
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tomt226

The thrips don't seem to negatively affect my plants, as they're all loaded with green pods. The only roses affected were one Dusure, and one Belinda's Dream. The unopened buds kinda bend over and look weird. The leaves in the area of those pods get crinkled and the leaves have the red color. However, all the roses have been treated with Merit, which is a systemic insecticide, and the damage is maybe 10% of what it was before we started using it. I'm beginning to think that if a plant has sufficient water and nutrients, it can fight off any sucking type insects...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 5:51AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Final update: The Ortho (Acetamirid) Insect Killer did the trick. No thrip leaf damage since applying it over 3 weeks ago. The Tobasco plants are now large bushes, are blossoming like crazy, and have a bunch of tiny pods.

Apparently I caught the attack on the seedlings soon enough as they hardly noticed the thrip damage. In fact the one with the worst damage is now the largest of the bunch. Peppers must thrive on adversity. :)

I've searched all the local nurseries for Spinosad without any luck. Will probably order some online for future infestations. I prefer something organic when possible, and when effective.

Thanks for all the input to this thread guys.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:35PM
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kuvaszlvr

Austingarden, just curious, has anything changed with the plants? I just looked at them again, and from investigations I've done due to problems with my tomato plants I came across Aminopyralid poisoning. Your plants look exactly like affected pepper plants. Tomato plants end up with leaves curled into tight little balls. Interesting, my tomatoes are blooming, did not expect that.
Pam

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

I can't speak for AustinGardener or Tom (we all live within 100 miles of each other), but my Tobasco plants couldn't have been poisoned either outside (rural area) or in the workshop where the super hot seedlings were growing. I actually caught the thrips on my seedlings and experienced the curling symptoms a couple days later.

Just for grins here's a close-up photo of my now recovered Tobasco plant. This was the worst one of the three...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:05PM
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esox07 (4b)

That sure looks a lot like the picture by the OP. So, how does the plant look now?
Bruce

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:11PM
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AustinGardenTX

Mine have been doing really well. I stopped watering them so much and we did a bit of seven dust. Here are my Tabasco peppers. Not sure what to do with all of these!!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:38PM
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AustinGardenTX

More Tabasco peppers. There is still a little bit of the leaves that look like they did before. But mostly new leaves are coming in good.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:40PM
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AustinGardenTX

My jalapeños are doing well too. Leaves don't look like they did originally.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:41PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

The photo I posted above is also from today. Here's the full size shot...

On May 23rd I trimmed all the infected leaves off until it looked like the plant on the right (it has other problems). It's amazing how it bounced back so strongly. I was about to rip it out back then!

This post was edited by mecdave on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 18:45

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:43PM
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AustinGardenTX

My japs. I'm just showing off at this point....... ;)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:43PM
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esox07 (4b)

Yep, it looks like your plants are all recovered and good to go.
Bruce

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Wow Austin, your plants look great! Maybe like Tom said, the leaf damage doesn't seem to hurt them that much. If I hadn't trimmed the leaves so drastically, mine might be as far along as yours. Good deal!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:49PM
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AustinGardenTX

My bell pepper plant is kinda stringy. Leaves aren't as healthy as the other plants. I tried to take a picture of a white bug that had what looked like spikes all over its back crawling around my bell pepper plant. It was moving too much for my phone to focus on but I bet it does some damage!! I am gonna try the insecticidal soap.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

I gave up growing bells when HEB started selling those big red ones for 98 cents. Then a couple weeks ago they had them 2 for $1 and I went hog wild!

Some got frozen, the rest I hickory smoke-dried and turned into chili powder, Those will be blended in with whatever hot pepper powder I end up with at season's end.

Man what a great year this is turning out to be. :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:16PM
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AustinGardenTX

Yea I am kind of over the bell peppers. My plant only is producing one at a time. Not much to do with just 1.

Yea it is a great year so far! And summer is just getting started! I see a long season of peppers ahead of us. Thank you for the compliment btw!!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 8:21PM
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