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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:01 am 
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I've looked in all my insect books and done a long Google search with no success, so I'm hoping someone on this forum will have an idea about what's killing our pinto bean plants. We had this same problem last year, although the plants themselves were not healthy looking like they are this year. (This is our 2nd year in this garden spot, so we are still building our soil.)

The damage at first glance looks like a couple of dogs were running through the garden and knocked over a plant, breaking it at the bottom joint right above ground level but not totally severing it from the rest of the plant. (We have a tall fence around the garden, so nothing but rabbits can get in as far as I know.) This causes the leaves to gradually shrivel up. From all I've read about cutworms, they prefer tender young plants, and these plants are blooming and putting on beans. In addition, a few leaves here and there on other bean plants have suddenly shriveled and look similar to the dead leaves on the plants that looked knocked over. Some of the leaves on the knocked-over plants are not shriveled, but look like perhaps some type of leaf miner might be feeding on them.

Does this sound like a cutworm is attempting to eat a plant that is too tough for it and succeeds in only chewing it part of the way through? Any other ideas?

Thanks,
OmaLinda


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:29 pm 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
Quite possibly. I had what I think were cutworms eat through a 12" pepper plant. It was pretty thick too. You may want to put pecan shell mulch around the base of each plant and douse with hot pepper. If you think that it is a cat or something in the garden, you can try putting netting around the plants. Start with the pecan shell mulch first though. I was also told that if you suspect cutworms, you can adhere a small metal rod to the plant (with ties) so the worm can't get around it to eat it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:38 pm 
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Another plant fell over today during the day. I noticed it when I went to the garden in late afternoon, and the leaves had not begun to wilt (although they usually look more shriveled, like all the moisture was sucked out of the leaves, than they look wilted). It was almost like the plant was top-heavy and could not support itself and just broke from its own weight . . . surely this could not be the problem, since what few beans there are are very tiny? These plants are not on a trellis, although they surely would climb one if it were available, with all the runners the plants have put out.

Sandih, I'm not sure where to get pecan shell mulch . . . do you think crushed egg shells might work the same?

Green Rain, I would LOVE to have you come out, but we are in the panhandle, about 250 miles from you, and I don't think I could pay for the mileage :)

Thanks,
OmaLinda


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:02 pm 
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We live on a farm in Collingsworth County.

OmaLinda


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:11 pm 
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I think I solved the mystery regarding the bean plants that split and fall over:

http://www.biology-resources.com/weevils-01.html

Linda


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