Tomato stems girdled near the ground, perhaps 1" in extent. Plant
wilts. Roma and Scotia both affected.
No detectable efflorescence of fungus aound the damaged area, no
visible tiny tooth marks. Plants are otherwise healthy and
flourishing when this happens. Plants affected are not all neighbors.
If I heap garden soil up around the stem to 3 or 4 inches above the
damage and give them plenty of water, they survive and most of them
recover to bear fruit despite a week or more of stagnation in growth.
Any idea what's causing this and what may be done to prevent it?
Just did that. We've had problems long ago with cutworms chewing
tender seedings right off at the ground. Web info suggests that's
These are "teen-age" plants, in bloom or just setting fruit, with
quite sturdy stems. The damaged plants aren't cut off, just girdled.
Well, we do have an enormous variety and number of moths here so I
guess that's a candidate answer but the damage isn't, AFAICT, typical
of cutworm attack.
I lost a fairly mature eggplant transplant this year to a cutworm, which
managed to girdle the stem and weaken it to the point that it fell over
in the breeze. Absolutely was a cutworm, as I found it, squished it, and
flipped it at the nearest robin.
Plant ended up a total loss but since it was an extra I'd tucked in at the
end of the bed and was too close to the patch of Anthemis* I wasn't
that upset about it.
*I have various herbs and flowers in my vegetable garden mainly to attract
and feed bees and hoverflies. Anthemis tinctoria 'Kelwayi' is one of them.
A quick search found this about flowers for pollinators:
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