The Q&A Archives: What's Eating My Fall Lettuce?

Question: I have planted loose leaf lettuce from containers a week ago. The plants are doing very well, but something has started to eat the leaves from the outside edges in. I have checked the back of the leaves and not found anything. We have a very mild climate in Arizona so the whiteflies are still prevalent. Do you have any ideas what might be eating my lettuce? The only other plants I have growing are tomato plants.

Answer: Whiteflies suck the juices out of plants and leave behind tiny holes or yellow marks called stippling. If it looks as if the leaves are being chewed, it could be a cabbageworm or cabbage looper, small green caterpillars that eat leaves. If you catch them early, handpicking them is an easy and effective control. Look under leaves and all around the plant. You can often spot their dark, pellet-shaped droppings which can help you locate them. Another possibility is a tomato hornworm, a larger green caterpillar often found on tomatoes and other vegetables.

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