rhubarb leaves getting holes - what's eating them?

grandma_gardener_02July 26, 2009

I've waited a year to get a good rhubarb plant and now have one growing in our garden. It is getting some holes in the leaves. Is rhubarb susceptible to insects? If so, what kind and what can you do about it? Also, is it normal for older leaves to wilt and die off as new leaves appear and grow?

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Don't know about the wilting and dying off part, but the japanese beetles around here seem to love the plant.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 6:27PM
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I finally got a decent rhubarb plant going this year after 2 failed attempts. Previously, the plant developed some reddening of the leaves and the crowns ended up rotting away.

With this new plant, I noticed some stalks were dying off. They were quickly replaced with new ones, so no worries about that. As long as new stalks are appearing, I would think that your plant is fine.

As for the holes in the leaves, I would suspect slugs. Have a look around and see if you find any. I've been using Safer's Slug & Snail Killer and it works like a charm. Beer traps if you're strictly organic.

I would have used beer traps myself, but I was afraid to find my neighbors skulking around the yard with straws in hand.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:31AM
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Sounds like you need to contact your extension agent. They are almost weeds in Michigan and Colorado. Yes they do seem to get bug hole in the leaves but it doesn't seem to bother the stems. Never heard of them rotting and they seem to live over 10 years. I have even started them from seed and eaten the next summer in Colorado. Good Luck

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 1:00PM
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