something eating veggie roots

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  #1  
Old 03-06-07, 05:52 PM
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something eating veggie roots

I have tomato and pepper plants that have died. When I pulled out the plants it appears something ate the roots. I did some research on the internet and found that it should not be a grub problem in the garden. Any idea of what else could be eating the roots? I live in south florida and the garden is pretty sandy but I have mixed in manure, peat, and top soil.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-07-07, 08:25 AM
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Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
Hi Bbcmmb,

Not really enough info to be sure. Was the manure well rotted? What symptoms did you see? Here's some possibilities.

Fungal gnats - you should see the adults flying around the plants or near the soil. It would take alot of them for you to see extensive root damage.
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/FGNIBC.htm

Cutworms - the plants would be severed at the top of the soil.
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/CWSIBC.htm

Cucumber beetle larvae - not usually a pest of tomatoes. There are a striped, banded and spotted variety. The spotted is aka southern corn rootworm.
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/CUBIBC.htm
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/CUSIBC.htm
http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Entomology/entfacts/veg/ef311.htm

Thre are diseases that effect the roots, but without more info on the symptoms it would be difficult to say.

Fusarium crown rot:
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/FCRDBC.htm

Verticillium wilt:
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/VERDBC.htm

Fusarium wilt:
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/FUSDBC.htm

If none of those fit you can look through these.

Diseases:
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/DBCLIST.HTM

Pests:
http://ftsg.ifas.ufl.edu/IBCLIST.HTM

I would also recommend you consider using compost instead of peat moss. Peat, once dry, is difficult to rewet. Ever see water sit on top of the dry soil in potted houseplants? Peat also contains few nutrients and can lower the pH of the soil. Compost contains many good microbes to help fight diseases and pests, is rich in nutrients and improves the texture of the soil.

Newt
 
  #3  
Old 03-15-07, 06:20 PM
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new info

I did find a couple of mole crickets when digging around. Could these be eating the roots?
 
  #4  
Old 03-15-07, 07:14 PM
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Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
They sure can. That's probably what happened. Here's info about them and what you can do.
http://molecrickets.ifas.ufl.edu/mcri0208.htm

Newt
 
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