Garden: Chard and Spider Mites

I’ve been watching my chard that was withering and turning white. It happened suddenly. I thought it was for lack of water. The tops of the large plant were very dry. The leaves normally voluptuous and green were pale and sad. It was suggested it might have bugs. All the chard around it looked healthy.  I lifted the leaves this morning to see an infestation of little black pin-point bugs.
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I started cutting away the leaves. I found earwigs. Earwigs occur when a plant is dying, they are the sharks of the garden like mini garbage disposals. (Click on the pictures)

Do I leave the plant and try to treat it.  It had been so serviceable and yielding an abundance of fresh leaves for salads only a week ago. I chopped furiously and thought I can’t do this. I grabbed firmly around the base of the plant which released from the soil. It was so seriously infested.

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Spider mites are pests and a serious nuisance. because they are on the underside of a leaf you don’t realize there is a problem until plant injury occurs. Spider mites  suck plant fluids and remove chlorophyll. On some plants there is a white webbing and white or yellow speckles on leaves. In severe cases there is defoliation. Ridding the plant of the mites organically might mean spreading the mites to the other plants first.  I took the drastic measure of pulling and tossing the plant into the trash can. I didn’t even give a thought to the compost pile.

If I had discovered it earlier I could have made up a soap mixture which I may still have to do with the other plants. I have Rosemary which I will blend up to use in the solution.  Mix dishwashing liquid in a gallon bucket of water. Pour it into a spray bottle which I will then use to spray the leaves. Another solution would be lady bugs but they are not in season right now.

This solution will need to be sprayed again in about 5 days to break the cycle of infestation. It’s always a good idea to test one leaf first to see how it will react before spraying the entire plant

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One thought on “Garden: Chard and Spider Mites”

  1. I’m sorry to hear that. We had a battle royale with Japanese beetles last year. I lost a rose bush in that war. I hope you don’t find any more of the little demons.

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