Sweet Potato mystery?????

Kassaundra

Garden Addicted
Joined
Sep 5, 2010
Messages
1,669
Reaction score
959
Points
233
Location
Henryetta, zone 7B
I have a 4 x 8 bed of sweet potatoes. Yesterday I looked at it, it was overgrown and lush to the point of ridiculousness. It needed weeding, so I thought if the weatherman is right and it rains I'll get out today and weed it. So just now I went over to weed it and saw most of the leaves were slightly wilted, then I noticed the bed wasn't mounded up round w/ leaves and growth. The whole bed had been cut overnight, each stem, none of the grass was touched the stems cut and fell right where they were growing. Like a cut worm, but the whole bed and overnight and not a cut worm to be found anywhere in the bed today????????? What did this?????
 

PhilaGardener

Garden Addicted
Joined
Jan 10, 2014
Messages
675
Reaction score
683
Points
227
Location
Gardening outside Philadelphia
@Kassaundra , There are apparently a number of cutworm species that can cause damage like that on Sweet Potatoes and you might have a bad infestation. :barnie

If you have any stems left, wrap with strips of aluminum foil at the base to protect them. You might find the larva by checking the soil surface after dark. :rant

Unfortunately, they are difficult to manage without resorting to toxic chemical treatments. Here is some info from LSU.

Good luck!
 

Smart Red

Garden Master
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
11,302
Reaction score
7,330
Points
397
Location
South-est, central-est Wisconsin
Just a guess, but is there any chance the rain did it? I could see a heavy rainfall breaking brittle stems off as it fell. It is hard to imagine a situation where the pests arrived just in time for a wet feast.
 

so lucky

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
8,296
Reaction score
4,771
Points
387
Location
SE Missouri, Zone 6
So the leaves were still there but cut off? Oh, I see you are saying the whole vine is cut off?
The darn rabbits eat the leaves on mine, and just leave the stems sticking up like porcupine quills.
I can't imagine what could have happened to yours. Very odd!
 

buckabucka

Garden Addicted
Joined
Apr 20, 2011
Messages
697
Reaction score
708
Points
243
Location
Fairfield, ME zone 3/4
I had something chew through my sweet potato stems, peppers, tomatoes, exactly as you have described, but earlier this spring. Mine was not cutworm either, as the plant was dragged below the black plastic they were sitting in. I've been calling mine a rat, although I have not seen it.
It is frustrating. I solved mine with tall-ish hardware cloth collars.

Perhaps you live in a zone where they may be ready enough to dig now? I guess you have no choice. Here's hoping there is no damage below the surface!
 

Kassaundra

Garden Addicted
Joined
Sep 5, 2010
Messages
1,669
Reaction score
959
Points
233
Location
Henryetta, zone 7B
Just a guess, but is there any chance the rain did it? I could see a heavy rainfall breaking brittle stems off as it fell. It is hard to imagine a situation where the pests arrived just in time for a wet feast.
Yes it did rain, but no storm, just a gentle rain
 
Top