Asked on May 18, 2012

Something is eating my collard, cabbage and pepper leaves. Any idea what it is and how I can stop it?

LaTrelle F
by LaTrelle F
My dad, who is doing the gardening, has resorted to putting some type of white power on them. So that is what you see in the photo. I am not sure of the name at present.
Red Cabbage
Egg Plant
  28 answers
  • Leslie D Leslie D on May 18, 2012
    Japanese beetles, maybe?
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on May 18, 2012
    A lovely example of cabbage looper damage! This green caterpillar is common on the plants you're growing. The good news is that it can be controlled organically. Apply a product containing B.t. (Caterpillar Attack, Dipel, etc) once a week.
  • Denise Gentry A Denise Gentry A on May 18, 2012
    Looks like the same thing that is eating my hostas! Its not snails. I can't find the critters at any time. Been out at 2 am with a flashlight-nothing!
  • Becky H Becky H on May 18, 2012
    Cliff, will that work for grasshoppers as well??
  • Pixie H Pixie H on May 18, 2012
    these are a type of catapillar. use sevin dust to kill them. that is probably the white powder he used. The critters will eat any green leaves.
  • LaTrelle F LaTrelle F on May 18, 2012
    Thank you all so much!!!!. The plants are growing so beautifully, except for all these holes. [Pixie, i found the box and u r correct, that powder is Sevin]. [Cliff, I like your organic solution, so I am going to give the baking soda a try.]
  • Wendy P Wendy P on May 18, 2012
    Japanese Beetles and caterpillers make these marks here in NE NY. The beetle bate works great just make sure you assemble the trap indoors or you will have a swarm of them overhead.
  • Lisa D Lisa D on May 18, 2012
    Have you seen little white moths flying around them...?
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 19, 2012
    Walter's solution, Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis, is completely safe. It is a naturally occurring bacterium common in soils throughout the world.
  • Diane B Diane B on May 19, 2012
    Seven Dust, and there is also a Seven Liquid, takes care of critters that eat broad leaf plants.
  • Mary T Mary T on May 19, 2012
    Have you seen any green "inch" worms on these? And sticky lumps of greenish bug poop (frass)? Probably cabbage looper.
  • Pat S Pat S on May 19, 2012
    Probably slugs and snails chewing on the leaves, put dried crumbled eggshells around the plants and they can't crawl over them.
  • Susan M Susan M on May 19, 2012
    I am no expert, if you look at it early in the morning when pest eat you might be able to tell what is eating it .
  • LaTrelle F LaTrelle F on May 29, 2012
    Lisa D (Asheville, NC) - actually I have seen one or two white butterflies, that my dad calls "something", but I can't understand what he is exactly saying [he is 92], but he complains about them flying around
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    • Julia Angleworm Julia Angleworm on May 26, 2016
      @LaTrelle F lol That is too cute!"my dad calls them something" Makes me think of my Fab, old Dad,He used to say "You got aphis (aphids) on your rose bush"lol he was up in the 90's too! We Lose Great knowledge, and wisdom,and information when they leave this world, don't we LaTrelle? & Lisa?
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on May 30, 2012
    Some people call them "skippers". They are laying eggs on the plant leaves...and the eggs will quickly become caterpillars.
  • LaTrelle F LaTrelle F on May 31, 2012
    Thanks so much Walter and Lisa D. I got the BT this weekend and am giving it a try.
  • Cathy Rodriguez Cathy Rodriguez on Sep 04, 2013
    Baking soda will kill the plants I have been using it around my pool to kill weeds, because the baking soda will not hurt the pool other then changing the PH, it changes the PH of the soil so that plants will not grow. I would not use it round a place where you want to continue to garden. Sevin dust is a horrible pesticide and not something I want on my food, it will totally negate the organic goal and the major reason I grow my own food. My cabbage look like this but not my pepper plants or my squash, and I have looked and looked for bugs and found nothing. I will by the BT and see if it works.
  • Tammy T Tammy T on Sep 25, 2013
    Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium is salt. Plants don't do well in salted soil. I would not recommend it on plants you want
  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Sep 25, 2013
    Ladies, you would have to use baking soda by the tractor trailer load in order to effect either ph or the salinity of the soil. Baking soda is a great way to "sweeten" an area that is very acidic and no it's not that kinda "salt" chemically speaking.
    • See 1 previous
    • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Sep 26, 2013
      @Cathy Rodriguez You're talking apples and oranges there. Chemically the reaction of baking soda with water is different from the way it reacts with soil. It's very possible your weeds were acid lovers and the baking soda's alkalinity made is difficult for them to gather nutrients. Like anything else, moderation and some common sense are in order when using any type of chemical compound.
  • Cathy Rodriguez Cathy Rodriguez on Sep 27, 2013
    You are the one that said it takes truck loads, and it does not, and it is not apples and oranges. I would not use it any where near soil I wanted to continue to grow in. That is my choice, as it is yours. The weeds were all kinds, crab grass, prickers, clover. I do know it has saved me a lot of work, and all I do is sprinkle it on right before a rain and it is safe to use around the pool. I have been putting crushed egg shells around my cabbage and it has worked, and they are good for the soil. No chemicals, no PH changes, and the eggs are organic and range free. Next year I will try the BT, This year they were too far gone, to spend the money so I tried the egg shells to see if they worked, and it seems to be working.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Feb 07, 2014
    I use to be all chemicals because I worked so hard on my garden. Now I have learned many things. One thing I do is rotate my garden every year. This really helps. Then I get up early and pick off the worms and brush off the leaves. I only use natural bug killers which even Walmart sales. Only in dire circumstances will I use chemicals which so far is never. If you get up early and closely look at the leaves you will see green worms. Pick them off, I wear gloves and have a bucket. I also brush off the leaves. And then I rinse off the leaves with my garden hose. I do this every morning. I have a fairly big garden. It takes time. But I have learned by garden flourishes and we eat healthier. If you use Seven Dust wear gloves and a mask. And wash your food several times.
  • Kathleen Kathleen on Mar 30, 2014
    This is a greatposting, and last summer my Cabbage and Collards looked just like these pix-ugh. Glad to see what it is and solutions. Thank you !
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Mar 30, 2014
    WE have always used wood ash on cabbage I am 66 yrs old and learned this from my grandmother. I lightly mist the plants and sprinkle wood ash on them. Realize everyone doesn't have access to ash. Maybe you know someone that has a fireplace I sift the ash to a fine powder Have one of those powder spreader don't remember the name has a little box with a crank and a tube that dispenses the powder.
  • Cindy woosley Cindy woosley on Apr 24, 2015
    Use dish soap. Look on line. They have lots of different recipe for natural bug killers for the garden
  • Carol Fredette Carol Fredette on Jun 02, 2016
    Seven dust or diatomaceous earth is a good bug killer. You will have to reapply if it rains.
  • Bri12998009 Bri12998009 on Nov 27, 2016

    Well, I learned from a Great Aunt with a green thumb to sprinkle just white flour not self rising.

    Wow it works everytime!!!! You have to reapply sometimes.

  • Judy Judy on Dec 12, 2016

    looks like flea beetle damage...they like everything in the cabbage family

  • Analice Resende Afonso Analice Resende Afonso on Dec 14, 2016

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