What would strip the leaves off a pepper seedling?

2ajsmamaJuly 18, 2012

I had some short serrano seedlings that were leafing out and getting nice and bushy though only about 6" tall (I set them out really late). This AM I went out and 1 was totally stripped of leaves - not on the ground, not dangling by a thread, not skeletonized, just GONE! The garden is fenced in with remesh so pretty big holes, but this is the only plant affected (so far), the potatoes have been in for 2 months and the tomatoes for over a month, peppers slightly less, and I've never seen this before. Just a stem sticking up.

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The 2 things that eat my pepper leaves are June bugs (similar to Japanese but they only come out at night) and tomato horn worms. I don't think June bugs would totally strip a pepper in one night, though.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 8:49AM
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The first thing that the grasshoppers eat here are the peppers.they can strip a plant in one night.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:39AM
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I have found 2 hornworms this week on my tomatoes, so maybe? We also have grasshoppers and crickets, so that's possible though it's weird it's only 1 plant and ALL the leaves are gone w/o a trace.

Oh well, at least I have plenty of serranos. Now, if they start going after my exotics...at least the bih jolokia and 7-pots are on my front porch where I can keep an eye on them.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:29AM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)

I do not remember an insect ever completely consuming the leaves of any vegetable plant in my garden. The ones that eat my plants leave the "vein" or stem part of the leaf, or, more often, just eat holes through the tender part of the leaf.

I have had entire plantings of newly sprouted corn chewed off down to ground level by rabbits. That provided the last supper for several rabbits.

This year, I lost most of the leaves from 45 pepper plants to the wind. I set them all out, and within 3 days, strong winds stripped all of them of most of their leaves.

They have spent two months growing roots and replacing all those missing leaves, and are just now looking like they are going to produce for me. Most are blooming, fully leaved out, and a foot to 18" taller.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 3:24AM
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I have had deer come through and forage in the garden. One of the things they munch on is pepper plants.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:27AM
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Well, so far the fence seems to be keeping the deer out even though it's only about 6ft high. I haven't seen any hoof prints or other damage (I planted potatoes before we put the fence up and saw the prints traipsing through the rows, they even knocked a few seed potatoes out).

Just a mystery what happened to this one little plant.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 12:52PM
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I'd guess rabbits. The rabbits ate all the leaves off my pepper plants, and the smaller rabbits can both fit through small holes and decimate the leaves of a 6" tall pepper plant. But they have not bothered my tomato leaves at all.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:03PM
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I would go for the deer. I had the same thing happen to me. I had planted them under a big zucchini bush in a very large container, and I wanted the red pepper plant. It is too tall for rabbits to hop up, but my DIL arises early and she sees the deer. My dtr was here from CA and we covered them up at night with boxes held with small dowel sticks They had munched off about 1/4 of the tender growth. With cover, they are starting to grow back. When they get so big, the deer leave them alone . I have had ornamental kale descimated by I guess grasshoppers--don't know for sure. Try covers. Barb

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:36PM
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I don't think it was deer but rabbits (or mice? I have something gnawing the potatoes under the hay) I can see.

I know deer can jump but like I said I haven't seen any signs.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Rabbits. It happened to me the first year I set out pepper plants I started from seed, completely striped in one night. I could of cried. I now always have rabbit fencing around them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Squirrels and chipmunks ate my pepper plants, which are just now recovering, maybe too late to get a crop. I have 4 feet of chicken wire sunk 1 foot into the ground (1 inch openings) and around that five feet high fencing with 2 inch x 3 inch opening. Works for groundhogs, rabbits, deer, etc. But nothing keeps the tree rats out!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Well, I'd need over 300ft of fencing to go around my fencing, unless I just did the 2 interior half rows of peppers (and they're not next to each other), so I'm not going to worry about 1 plant, hope the others get tall enough nothing bothers them. I do have some bird netting and some tomato cages (use them for supporting the peppers, not on every one) so maybe I'll try to drape it over, will just have to remove to water (hope I won't have to, we HAVE to get some rain sometime) and harvest.

We have lots of squirrels and chipmunks around the house, and rabbits in the brush along the sides of the roads. But I haven't ever seen any out in the field - figure the coyotes must keep them in check. They must be nocturnal ;-)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:27PM
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I don't have rabbit fencing around the whole garden, just where the peppers are. Some people even cut the rabbit fencing and fashion it into like round tomato cages for their peppers. Another idea is to plant them in pots close to the house. I have pots on my deck and the rabbits never go up there.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:40PM
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eurolarva(z4 MN)

I planted 6 jalapenos after growing them under lights this spring and a rabbit totally stripped every one of leaves. I was sure they were toast so I bought some more small ones from a garden center and my old ones that the rabbit munched came back and are as healthy as ever and out producing the ones I bought at the garden store. Buy some cheap tomato cages or chicken wire and put them around the plants till they get bigger and start producing fruit. Now that mine are bigger the rabbits must be finding other food cause they are leaving the peppers alone

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 11:35PM
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I have roughly 75 peppers (have to count, but at least 6 of each common variety, more bells - though not all survived transplanting - and 1-3 of some more exotics). So can't pot or cage all of them, I will try the bird netting draped over the rows (2 rows) and staked down. I do have 8 in pots right now (6 on porch) and will pot up about 3-6 more of the rarer varieties so I can overwinter them - 2 of the 8 were overwintered (I started with 10 or 12 but the aphids got them).

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:34AM
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ju1234((8 Dallas TX))

It is definitely a caterpillar of some sort. Early in season, I had peppers about 6" tall. One evening I saw a small pile of what looked like 1mm or so diameter irregular shaped things on one leaf. It was like someone took a small spoonfull of things and placed it carefully on the center of the leaf. Being my first time, i did not think much of it although i suspected those were eggs of some thing. I wanted to follow them next day and see what happens to them. Next morning, i saw that all leaves on that one plant were gone. I expected the eggs to have fallen on the ground on the soil. But did not find any. No sign of any tunneling the ground. I did not find any remains of those eggs. But I was sure something emerged out of those eggs and ate the leaves in one night. There were 4 other pepper plants next tot his one. They were fine. I understand that most caterpillars go into soil during day and come at night. So, I did not want to have same thing happen to the other plants next morning. I sprayed pesticide on the soil around that eaten plant and that took care of it. The eaten plant grew new leaves and back to normal after a while.

I doubt it would be dear or rabbits. On 6" plants they would not be so selective as to eat leaves only and leave out the stalks.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:58AM
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