Ask a Question forum: worries on my sweet potato plants :(

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muffin
Mar 17, 2015 11:45 AM CST
I seem to have tiny, pests, on my sweet potato vines (in the house).Look like tiny drips of moisture on the leaves mainly, both top and bottom. NO IDEA what they are, or how to kill them off permanentlt! I can lightly squeeze the leaf and it seems to kill a lot, but not all. I did wipe them down with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcool, and that did kill the ones it touched ( look like tiny brown specks on the leaves)...but that also did damage the leaves a bit. Considered wiping down with thinoil, but worried the plant will suffocate. Also wondered if I can totally immerse the cuttings in alcohol safely to get rid of them...Anyone know what I am dealing with and how to stop permenently???
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Mar 17, 2015 2:01 PM CST
Have you tried using a soap solution? If the alcohol is damaging the leaves, a total immersion is probably not a good idea.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

muffin
Mar 17, 2015 2:16 PM CST
what solution would you suggest for the adult plant? and for washing cuttings before I set them to root? Hoping I can keep the adult plant alive and not have to ditch it...
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Mar 17, 2015 2:34 PM CST
Hmmm, not sure, as don't grow these myself. Maybe someone from our Pests and Diseases forum will check in? @OldGardener any thoughts?
If you could post a close up photo, that would be helpful.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

muffin
Mar 17, 2015 2:39 PM CST
will have to take a photo tomorrow or next day as I have worked over the leaves today already to kill what I could...
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 18, 2015 8:26 AM CST
If you're able to put your plants outside for summer, that should help, either in the ground or a large pot. By fall, it should have produced potatoes that you can store in a cool, dry place for winter. Ipomoeas are usually frustrating to try to keep inside because they are so attractive to several kinds of pests.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
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muffin
Mar 18, 2015 9:38 AM CST
well, can't help wondering if that is where the pests came from...parent plants did spend summer outside. I need to deal with the pests, as I have to start everything here long in advance...prairies! Trying to get enough healthy slips started early inside...
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Mar 18, 2015 8:33 PM CST
I had tiny, tiny mite like thingys making webs on my indoor sweet potato plant. I would fill a container with plain warmish water, and immerse the whole plant for 2 hours. Did that 3 times, a week apart and they haven't reappeared. Didnt need any water during that time.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 19, 2015 10:15 AM CST
It sounds like probably spider mites. Either immerse or take the plant into the shower and rinse it off well with a good (lukewarm, not cold!) spray. That doesn't make the soil quite so waterlogged.

The soapy water spray is usually the ticket for most sucking insects. About 1/2 tsp of dish soap to a quart bottle of water, and be sure to spray both tops and bottoms of leaves. Repeat about twice a week for a couple of weeks and that should get any new ones that hatch out, because the eggs are often not affected by the spray.

If you do both for the first treatment, that is even better. Spray with the soap solution, then take the plant to the shower and rinse it off really well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
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pjdksmith
Mar 20, 2015 8:39 AM CST
I get spider mites every year on my sweet potato slips
Makes me so mad! I use incesticidal soap and it sometimes works if i catch it in time
Dawn soap w water tends to kill off the leaves too. I notice before i see the bugs i get paling leaves. should be treated before it gets too bad.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 20, 2015 9:20 AM CST
muffin said:I seem to have tiny, pests, on my sweet potato vines (in the house).Look like tiny drips of moisture on the leaves mainly, both top and bottom.


I'm just wondering whether we've got the right pest (spider mites) since they're on the tops of the leaves as well as the undersides. Typically spider mites are on the undersides. Is there any webbing on the leaves, especially the undersides? You'd likely need magnification to clearly see webbing and mites.

Also, tiny drips of moisture on plants can be what's called "guttation", which is not from a pest although I'd expect that to be more concentrated on the leaf edges. I Googled for pictures of sweet potato with guttation and didn't find any, but did find this which is rather interesting, does this look similar?:
http://beyondthehumaneye.blogspot.ca/2013_10_01_archive.html

As already suggested, a picture would really help.


muffin
Mar 20, 2015 9:49 AM CST
no, not like the photo...but we can see very tiny almost transparent things moving, so is definitely a pest of some sort... Sighing!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Mar 20, 2015 10:00 AM CST
Oooh, I did not know that about Dawn soap! I just started using it for dishes; think I'll be keeping it away from my plants!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 20, 2015 10:33 AM CST
I think Dawn is a detergent, which is higher in salts than soap. It will still kill bugs on contact the same as soap, but if the plant is in any sun you should rinse the Dawn solution off the leaves after a few minutes. Should do the same with any soapy water solution, actually. Most dish soaps have some detergent, but Dawn is hyped as the "grease cutter". http://www.quirkyscience.com/difference-between-soap-and-det...

I do get spider mites on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves of my Brugmansias, which are the most mite-prone plants I grow. But soap or detergent in a mild solution should kill whatever those little crawlers are, if you hit them with it.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 20, 2015 10:34 AM CST
Agreed, if they're moving they'd be insects/mites. Here is a picture (enlarged) of two-spotted spider mites on the underside of a daylily leaf. There are other spider mites that can go for sweet potato, but do yours look anything like this?

Thumb of 2015-03-20/sooby/06ce5b


muffin
Mar 20, 2015 11:21 AM CST
maybe...I need a better magnifying glass I guess! They seem to leave injury that weeps a drip, on the plant, especially underside
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Mar 20, 2015 11:39 AM CST
If you have a digital camera you could try taking a picture through the magnifying glass. That will give you an enlargement of them. Aphids and whiteflies both leave drops of "honeydew" on plants, are the drips sticky? Insecticidal soap would still be a good place to start, though.

muffin
Mar 20, 2015 11:43 AM CST
will try the soap idea, see what happens

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