Crops > Vegetables > Eggplant > Seedling stem damage, Hawaii

Crops > Vegetables > Eggplant > Seedling stem damage, Hawaii

Crops VegetablesEggplant Seedling stem damage, Hawaii

Transplant problem

May 2001. A transplant problem in Hawaii. The stems of newly transplanted eggplants were eaten just above ground level. The eggplants were still young – perhaps 2-weeks old. Suggestion were requested on a likely cause.

Various suggestions were made: slugs, snails or, perhaps, cutworms, Spodoptera (Prodenia) litura. As to control measures: all transplants should be sheathed in a layer of newspaper when they are planted; just wrap it a couple of times, and leave about 2-3 inches above ground. Small stones may also work, just so the ‘worm’ cannot wrap itself around the stem as it eats. Any formulation of Bt will be effective, used as a dust or spray around the stems. It must be re-applied after rains or watering. Diatomaceous earth will also deter/destroy such caterpillars at the base of plants.

Achatina fulica, giant African snail was thought another possibility. Attack can be prevented by baiting with chopped papaya leaves and stems; these make an excellent bait for snails and, perhaps, slugs, too. Bait with a board beneath so they have a place to hide; it also makes it easier to find them and pick them up early in the morning.

Other possibilities suggested were cerambycid adults, the Common brown grasshopper (Aiolopus tamulus: Orthoptera/Acrididae) – causes damage in Tonga. If the latter, control by spraying with carbaryl was suggested.