The Q&A Archives: Rhubarb Root Damage

Question: Our rhubarb is not doing well. We have an established bed at least 10 year old. The location is sunny and we often amend the soil with composted manure. We decided to move the bed and upon digging up the plants discovered they have root damage. We suspect grubs. Or could it be root rot?

Answer: Based on your description it is impossible to make a definite diagnosis of the problem, but it is possible that the damage was caused by rhubarb curculio, a snout beetle which damages the stalks, crown and roots. You might wish to take a sample to your County Extension (784-6680) for a more exact identification of the probelm and suggested controls, if any. In the meantime, in case it is the curculio, you should remove any nearby dock plants as a control measure.

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