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Brown Ring Around Stem

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Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  H_TX_2 on 5/1/2014, 11:24 am

Okay this has me stumped. It seems every year there is a new pest or new to me at least. One of my basil plants have a brown ring around the stem. At the point of the brown ring the stem is weak and is falling over.


There is another smaller brown ring closer to the top of the plant.


I'm not too worried about the plant since I can easily cut below the lower ring and harvest the basil above it. I'm just curious to know what this, what is causing it and what I can do to keep if from happening.

Thanks for any input you might have.
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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/1/2014, 2:08 pm

This is just my first thought, I am no expert.  Can you look and see if some caterpiller is around.  To me it looks like whatever did that munched a shallow ring around the stem.  Then the stem sealed itself at that point and of course turned brown.  It does seem strange that it is horizontal but I don't have a lot of knowledge about how caterpillers munch.  Maybe they like munching in the horizontal mode.  Although I do see some other spots that might be munch marks at different areas of the stem.  Something else, I can't see it clearly but in your top picture on the center stem, at the top, it almost looks like the legs and body of a caterpiller.
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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/1/2014, 3:37 pm

@H_TX_2 wrote:Okay this has me stumped. It seems every year there is a new pest or new to me at least. One of my basil plants have a brown ring around the stem. At the point of the brown ring the stem is weak and is falling over.


There is another smaller brown ring closer to the top of the plant.


I'm not too worried about the plant since I can easily cut below the lower ring and harvest the basil above it. I'm just curious to know what this, what is causing it and what I can do to keep if from happening.

Thanks for any input you might have.
That's different.  It looks like a cut worm too high up.  Can you send the photos to your extension office and let us know what they say?

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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  H_TX_2 on 5/1/2014, 4:27 pm

I have never had cut worms before. But I also thought it looked like something tried to eat the stem like a cut worm would do. I have had caterpillars and my first year doing SFG I lost a small pepper plant in a sinele night but they ate all the leaves not the stem.

I have found a caterpillar on this plant because it had eaten chunks out of some of the leaves. I found it and killed it but have not seen any more recently. Last night I dusted the base with some BT.

There were not any caterpillars on the plant when I took the photo. If I am looking at the same thing you are then what you are seeing is leaves from a tomato plant behind the basil plant.

Good idea I might send this to my extension office.
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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  H_TX_2 on 5/2/2014, 2:19 pm

This morning I just happen to stop and take a look at me basil plant and there was a new but smaller brown ring. I almost missed this little guy but fortunately I happened to spot him before while inspecting the new brown ring.

I stopped by my local garden store and the guy I usually talk to was not in today. Two other people couldn't help me but I did happen to find him in a google image search. It is a three-cornered alfalfa hopper. The nymphs are know to cause damage by girdling the stem of plants.
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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  sanderson on 5/2/2014, 3:50 pm

Great photo you took. Little guy with disastrous effect. What will you use against them?
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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  H_TX_2 on 5/2/2014, 4:05 pm

I have no idea. I looked around and didn't see any others. I have not seen these brown rings on any other plants. Now that I know what it it I can at least find a solution if the problem persists.
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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  camprn on 5/3/2014, 7:22 am

It's quite possible that it was simply an injury from bending the stem. In case it is something else I would just pinch off the stem below the scar.

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Re: Brown Ring Around Stem

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/4/2014, 1:59 pm

I was thinking today also that it might be damage from the stem bending.  You did good finding that critter and researching what he is and what he does.  It does looks like he did do some munching.  That is a great picture.  I had damage on my potatoes last year and couldn't find the critter.  I took a picture of the damage and went right inside.  I downloaded it and enlarged it and that was when I saw the caterpiller.  I was able to go right out and do him in.  Now you know what you are looking for and it may help others who have the same problem!
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