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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Slugs Can Cause Early Plant Damage to Lettuce

While in Kosovo recently a farmer complained about the lower leaves of his young lettuce plants were damaged, wilting and not looking very good.
Spring is not lettuce weather in the hot desert but in cooler climates it is.
Early lettuce with drip tape and plastic mulch for weed prevention.
Young lettuce transplants put out in the field had lower leaves that were damaged. Feeding damage from slugs that turned brown could be seen on the base of the leaf toward the bottom of the picture. Small slugs could even be found at the base of the leaves.
 Feeding damage opens wounds in the surface of the leaves and allows pathogens to attack the weakened leaf itself. Slugs and snails are active at night. Slugs can be trapped between rows that are bare soil by laying down cardboard or newspaper and collecting snails and slugs that move there to avoid daylight.
It is always a good idea to remove the bottom leaves of plants growing from a stem which will lessen pest problems and improve your chances of getting better spray coverage. This includes vegetables like cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and eggplant.
Lower leaves of tomato were removed to improve air circulation and reduce disease problems. Leaves at the bottom of the plant are frequently shaded and do not contribute much to the rest of the plant and may actually be a detriment. Removing leaves also helps in getting better spray coverage and insect control.

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