Pepper problem helps!

Ridgerunner

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Can you see any droppings, probably black specks. Shape and size might help identify the culprit. Of course, can you see any caterpillars of bugs on them? Check under the leaves.

I think those holes are too big for flea beetles but I don't entirely rule them out. You should be able to see them.

In some ways those could be from slugs. Not sure if slugs attack pepper plants.

Grasshoppers come to mind too. They will eat scattered holes like that. They often eave large block blobs of poop.

I don't much think it is a caterpillar. Caterpillars tend to start eating at one spot and keep going, not bounce around and making a lot of holes. But I've been wrong before.
 

flowerbug

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Not a southern gardening expert but here, our peppers would out grow the damage.
pretty much the same here for some gardens i have (some get this and some don't - no clear pattern to which garden). i figure it is what have been called flea beetles or small grasshoppers, but i've never actually checked because within a few weeks the plants outgrow the damage so i've never bothered to identify the bug(s) or treated for them.
 

Ridgerunner

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Not a southern gardening expert but here, our peppers would out grow the damage.
Kinda depends on what is causing the damage. I don't know about you guys up north (not you-all since you are yankees) but down here we don't usually eat the pepper leaves. The buds will put out new ones, As long as the damage isn't worse than that the OP will still get peppers and should do OK. Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and many others have great recuperative powers as long as the leaves are not what you want to harvest.

Two questions have been asked. What is causing it? I think that is an excellent question. When I see something has been chewing on my plants it's a question I want answered. That leads into the second question, what to do about it? To me that question is easier to answer if I know what I'm talking about. I think there is a good chance the right answer is nothing, it's not really a problem as far as pepper production, it's just cosmetic. But I don't know that.

@Mram0824 I can't find a chart that shows the differences in outdoor insect droppings in your garden. Caterpillar droppings will look different than grasshopper droppings. Grasshoppers will chew a while, poop, and hop away. You can often find a caterpillar by looking in the area of the poop. Usually there is an abundance of poop. If you can't find a caterpillar in the area then there probably isn't one. Yes, you are on a forum where we talk about insect poop.

Some of that damage looks like the plant is growing out of it, the damage has stopped. Some others I'm not so sure. Something, a small caterpillar or more likely something like a small beetle, could be enjoying those tender bud leaves just as they are forming. Look closely at the buds to see if you can see any critters or droppings. Those are the ones that would most concern me if you got a heavier infestation. Something taking a few bites out of the pepper leaves won't be a concern.

In Houston that could easily be grasshoppers this time if the year. Up north they may have not even hatched out yet. Unless you see a lot of grasshoppers they are not an issue for peppers. I can't remember what else you are growing but you should see where bites are being taken out of other things.
 

ducks4you

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You can Always use grass clippings. Most of the time when we mow the grass hasn't gone to seed, and usually it goes to seed in July/August. I believe in starting with the free. If you can't do that, I would suggest straw. I heard a recent suggestion to put down whole flakes of it for weed control, but that could be pricey. I bought straw last year, $3.50/bale, (Hay, $6.00/bale) There is another member here who paid $20/baled hay. I don't know what your local prices are, but hay would also work. 1st & 2nd cuttings usually don't have seeds. I buy 1 load of 3rd cutting bc I need for my horse's to continue to reseed their pasture, which was a corn field when we moved here 20 years ago.
Does your push mower have a bag?
 
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