Something's eating my rhubarb

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Something's eating my rhubarb

Postby Denise » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:05 pm

Does anyone have any idea what kind of insect could be munching my rhubarb? The leaves get slowly nibbled away to nothing, then the stalks disappear. :( :? One plant is already totally gone, now another is under attack.
I have examined it carefully during day and night, no sign of any insects, slugs etc. Have sprayed with Rogor. Tried garlic/lemon rind/chilli spray. Laid yeast trap. All to no avail. The only thing I can see is a few ants - so I've put out Ant rid just in case it's them.
These plants are in 2 different spots, as I've had trouble getting rhubarb established (lost 3 last year!), both plants were thriving until this started.
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Postby Kerrie » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:06 pm

It does sound very much like snails or slugs, Denise, but if you've been laying traps and getting nothing, then who knows? As a last resort, have you considered covering it with a netted cage to protect it? I know this would be cumbersome, as rhubarb does spread out fairly wide, but it's better than getting no crop!

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Postby kitkat » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:29 pm

And here I thought Rhubarb had no enemies!! Oh dear ...it does sound like some sort of insect attack doesn't it but as you have done everything right and it hasn't had any effect maybe you should look to another type of insect ...earwigs maybe? They are always hard to see but do a lot of damage...Jackie French's book has a few good ideas for dealing with/trapping them ...if you don't have it I'll look them up for you.
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Postby kitkat » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:38 pm

OK,I checked my Kitchen Garden book and it says
" Watch for Curculio as it tunnels into the stalk killing the plant,Rotenone is to be used on curculio; also watch for crown rot and viruses"

Any help???? Another organic book just says watch for Aphids ...so there you go...not a lot of help I'm afraid. I have six rhubarb in and although there is the odd hole in a leaf, there is really no problem with them at all and I don't do anything except feed them so I wish you luck! :?
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Postby Denise » Mon Oct 17, 2005 8:00 am

Thanks for your replies.
It's very frustrating - rhubarb is supposed to be idiot-proof! I had no problem growing it when I lived in Canada - couldn't kill it!
I guess I'll try the rotenone - that's got to make it nasty for any chewing critter.
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Postby Linda » Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:33 pm

Rather than use chemicals on edible plants, try this: make a spray with 1 oz plug tobacco and 1 litre water plus a drop of dishwashing detergent. First soak the tobacco in the water for a couple of days in the sun, then strain into a spray bottle add the detergent and use this to spray the leaves - including the underside. Wear gloves while spraying because the nicotine can get into your skin, and don't spray within 2 weeks of harvest. You can also sprinkle smoking type tobacco around the base of the plant as a deterrent but keep warm blooded animals away from it.

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