Vegetables and Fruit forum: Something is killing my peppers

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(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
Jul 1, 2012 7:49 AM CST
I have several pepper plants in my garden. So far, I have lost two. The first just wilted and died for no apparent reason, although, I suspect a mole may have been the cause. The other has all of it's leaves stripped off. I noticed this yesterday. A few of the leaves where laying on the ground around the plant as if they had been clipped off with scissors. I went out this morning and the rest of the leaves have been stripped and are laying under the plant. I don't see anything on the plant or any nearby plants and none of the leaves have any bites out of them.

Any ideas?
[Last edited by TomNJ - Jul 3, 2012 9:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jul 3, 2012 9:24 AM CST

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Is there any chance of tomato hornworms? Those devils will eat peppers if given the chance. Other than that, I'm out of ideas. Shrug!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jul 3, 2012 10:12 AM CST
Are they young plants? Rabbits find young tender pepper plants especially delicious.
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jul 3, 2012 10:38 AM CST
Tom, usually if there are not bite or bug-evidence on the leaves it tends to lead to either over-fertilization or over-watering. I think I'd check to make sure your soil is fairly well-draining, especially since your nights may still be a bit cool up your way. (Peppers love heat, hate cold feet!) :>)

If you've been feeding them compost or the like that wasn't fully composted that, too, will make leaves fall. Same if you've been feeding a stronger-than-needed doze of liquid fert (e.g., Miracle-Gro).

Does any of this sound plausible?

Shoe
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
Jul 3, 2012 4:38 PM CST
Horseshoe, you may have hit the nail on the head. The plant in question was looking a bit yellow a couple of weeks ago, so I gave it some organic blood meal assuming that it was slightly nitrogen deficient. I used dry bone meal and didn't even scratch it into the soil. I may have been a bit to liberal with my water, too.

Thanks again.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jul 3, 2012 5:10 PM CST
Well, I hope it revives. Pepper being perennials maybe it won't give up so quick, eh?! :>)

Normally if the lower leaves are yellowing that might indicate a N deficiency. If that is the case the plant will utilize the N to its new growth in an effort to keep itself alive and "begat". If the whole plant is a bit yellow it would lean more towards too much water, not enough sunlight (and you would notice elongated node sections), or a disease.

The bone meal you added is not readily available to plants and usually takes time to be broken down to a usable form so that wasn't your culprit.

If it were me I'd try a bit of chicken soup in the form of fish emulsion and/or kelp to encourage your plants along. A foliar spray at this point would be my choice so the goodness of it all goes directly into your plants leaves/stems, bypassing the root structure (hoping you still have a few leaves to work with!)

Lastly, I'm glad you are not one of the many thousands up in the northeast who lost power from the big super storm and that you and yours are doing well.

Best,
Shoe
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
Jul 3, 2012 8:50 PM CST
Thanks for your concern, Shoe. Those storms were about 30 miles south of us. Very bad.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jul 4, 2012 1:49 PM CST
Slugs ate my pepper plants when they were small so I am no help.
Name: Tom
Southern Maine (Zone 5a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Tom
Jul 30, 2012 5:44 PM CST
I think it is horn worms.....I just pulled 2 index finger sized horn worms from mine. I noticed two of my plants had the top leveld off and large piles of poop from the the worm.....thats always a tell tale sign Green Grin! Thumb of 2012-07-30/Tom/d2341a
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