Brussels sprouts damaged


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Anyone know what cut down my plant? It was fine yesterday. I think it just happened since the stalk was still oozing and the plant wasn't very wilted.

First thing I suspect is a cutworm. I have already seen a cutworm, it was on the other side of the property, so I know they are out. I removed plant and roots, looked around and couldn't find any type of worm. I did find a few flys lying under the plant leaves and one tiny black ant. I didn't seen any tunnels in the cut portion.

I've never grown brussels sprouts before but I have grown cabbage for several years and this has never happened with my cabbage plants.

Mouse or mole maybe? Do they eat brussels sprouts?
Bird? I see robins in there but I assume they are scouting the bare dirt for earthworms. Maybe a robin snatched up the cutworm the chopped the plant down?
 
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Cutworm. Here in Texas it has been a very bad year for cutworms. Most times the worm is full grown but this year they are not. I have lost a lot of plants this year where most years only a couple. When I dig around where the base of the plant is I always find the culprit and most of the time this year it appears the worms are about 1/2 the size of a normal adult worm. All of my worm damage has been in my garden where there hasn't been a living plant since last summer. No grass or weeds at all and the cutworm moth lays its eggs in grass and weeds. I'm at a loss. I've used a spinosad and Bt spray and soil drench to no avail. So far only inground plants have been affected and none in containers. Hope you have better luck than me.
 
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I dusted them with a bit of sevin dust again. I usually only try do that when I set my plants out and no rain for a couple days and looks up until this point I've been lucky.

I've wanted to try permethrin dust but haven't gotten to it yet since I dont dust all that much. I usually have a problem with armyworms in my lettuce containers when the temps warm up so that might be a good time to try that.
 
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Well the dad gum cutworm chopped down another brussel sprout plant. Same exact scenario. No worm to be found. Where in the world do they hide? I did see a crane fly but I'm sure it didn't do that. Never been like this before.

Maybe it is sevin dust resistant. It will have to crawl through a flower factory of dust before it gets another one unless it rains then eats again.
 
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I've looked several times today and haven't see the first worm, although no more plants have been chopped down.

Edit... Just saw they come out at dark and hide in the daytime which I didn't know. I believe I'll go have another look.
 
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I've looked several times today and haven't see the first worm, although no more plants have been chopped down.

Edit... Just saw they come out at dark and hide in the daytime which I didn't know. I believe I'll go have another look.
They are still chopping my plants down. I am down to 13 tomato plants out of 33. I grow all of my plants from seed and this year planted seeds two weeks later than normal which made the plants smaller when I set them out. I plant my transplants deep, so, being smaller and being planted as deep as possible I had no room to put a collar around the plants. Today the remaining plants are big enough and they will be getting a collar. I'll use toilet paper tubes. I dug up a small portion of my garden that hasn't been planted in yet and sifted the soil. Out of a 2 sq. ft area I counted 11 cutworms. 9 of them were 1/2 size and smaller. The other two were full grown. And yes, you will never see them active in the daylight, only at night.
 
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I looked some last night before midnight and never saw a sign. They are very elusive. Went this morning to inspect and one had already chewed on another plant. I noticed its tunnel right beside the plant and a couple more tunnels within a foot away. I dug down next to the plant and there it was about 3" deep near the bottom of the plants roots. The other tunnels I couldn't find anything but I'm not really how sure they tunnel down.

It rained lightly some last night and I think that made the tunnels stand out a little better since I hadn't noticed them before. The worm was still alive so maybe it came out after it rained and washed away the sevin dust from the plant. I think it was coming out to eat very early in the morning.

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No more damage after I squashed that one worm.

It says they lay eggs at the stem of weeds and grasses and the eggs will hatch in a few days to two weeks. They overwinter in the soil and come out in early spring. I wonder where all the other eggs or larvae went to. Do you think I cut the others up when I tilled the ground?
 
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@Chuck Try crumpling up aluminum foil around the base of the plant. That way the foil opens up as the stem grows. I'm going to try this with the next transplants, whenever that may be.
 
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@Chuck Try crumpling up aluminum foil around the base of the plant. That way the foil opens up as the stem grows. I'm going to try this with the next transplants, whenever that may be.
In all my years of gardening I have never seen so many cutworms. But, it didn't really matter as I had a bad hail storm and it destroyed all of my transplants anyway. I have managed to scrounge up a few pitiful looking tomato and pepper plants and I went and bought a bag of Sluggo Plus and that took care of the worms but then came the hail. Hopefully next year will be better
 

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I've been told that eggshells crumbled and piled up around the base of the plant will kill/deter the cutworms. If nothing else, you get some calcium nutrients.
 
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I've been told that eggshells crumbled and piled up around the base of the plant will kill/deter the cutworms. If nothing else, you get some calcium nutrients.
Calcium is one of the main soil problems here. There is WAAAAY too much of it. That's why epsom salts is so important here. I allows calcium uptake somehow. I tried eggshells for years but never saw a benefit. When setting out transplants it is also important to coat the roots and put a layer of either bone meal or rock phosphate into the bottom of the hole. I guess it is the added phosphorus that also does something too but epsom salts absolutely 100% stops blossom end rot. Without it I cannot grow tomatoes except for cherrys. Melons and bell peppers also must have epsom salts or they also get BER or something akin to it. As far as cutworms go I suppose the sharp edges of the shells might make it uncomfortable for them but I can't see calcium doing anything as it is everywhere, from the bedrock which is calcium to the soils surface which is made up of tiny particles of calcium bedrock plus whatever organic matter has decomposed totally.
 
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