Collard plants that the pests are eating up--what should I do?

Joined Jun 16, 2007
Collards are one of my favorite things to eat. I have one plant from last year that's waiting for spring to make some more leaves for me, but it's getting munched up :mad:.

I looked some stuff up on the internet, and I think it's aphids that are enjoying my collards. Not totally sure, but I think that's the evil pest. I want to get rid of the *#*I&ards* in a way that won't affect the quality of this year's leaves. I don't want to just spray on a manufactured insecticide without knowing more.

Any suggestions?
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Yeti, there's no guessing what sort of pests you have; particularly at this time of year. Best bet is to take a sample of an eaten-upon leaf to your country extension office and ask them to identify the pest and suggest treatment.

The big destroyer of brassicas are those little green worms and loopers. These are the caterpiller form of those white butterflies that are uqibuitous. But it's kind of early for them to appear.

If it turns out that your problem is, indeed, aphids, the easiest long-term cure is to release ladybugs and/or lacewings into the garden. Short term: hit the plants with a heavy spray from your garden hose, which will dislodge the aphids. Then spray with an insecticidal soap, such as Safers.
Joined Jun 16, 2007
I'll try that for now. Thanks.

I've seen little worms in the past, and now it looks like little insects.

Extension office, yeah I've heard about them but never went and asked something. I'll take a sample and ask them.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
White oil spray maybe?
Just a thought, I used to use it on my roses and it worked beautifully for aphids, but have no idea if it is safe for edibles. So please research it first.
Joined May 16, 2009
Pest Control for Collard Greens

Collards are usually hardier than heading cabbages but the plants are susceptible to some of the same pest problems. The warm days of late September and early October can bring out  flea beetles which can devastate young seedlings. If you see damage on your plants that resembles lots of tiny shotgun holes these tiny black beetles are probably the culprit.The damage is mostly dangerous for seedlings;older plants can usually survive the damage with no problems.

Over-watered plants can be subject to damage from slugs and snails. If you see large ragged holes in your plants during cool wet weather these mollusks are usually to blame.One tried and true method for controlling snails and slugs is to set small containers of beer around to trap them.

I like to use a margarine container (plastic tub) with an inch or two of beer to trap slugs. I recommend putting the lid back on and punching a few holes in the top to keep the beer away from pets and wild animals. The last thing you want is to wake up and find that  raccoons or rodents have destroyed your garden in a drunken overnight raid.

My mom prefers not to use beer but a slug bait that contains iron phosphate. These baits are effective and aren't harmful to birds and other wildlife. Hope this helps.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Flea beetles are primarily a problem here in the south, DDenay. I'd never even heard of them before moving south of the Ohio River.

And it's doubful that they'd have too much of an effect on mature plants, which is what Oregon Yeti was describing.

Here in Kentucky the roughest time is usually May. That's when the first hatch comes off, and it's massive. I've all been given up trying to grow eggplants for that reason. The beetles continue to hatch the rest of the summer, but not in such numbers. So plants are less harmed by them.

Plus, of course, there's no missing flea beetles; you can see the little buggers hopping.

I would say if the holes are large and irregular, and there are no visible insects, then slugs would be the likely culprit. Beer traps, as you suggest, are as good a control method as any. Day in and day out, though, large holes are a sign of cabbage worms, of one species or another. Bt is the best control.

The fly in the ointment, though, is time of year. I'm not all that familiar with weather patterns in the Pacific Northwest. But January is winter, after all. So any pests are a surprise.
Joined Sep 26, 2015
I am in Sacramento California, I have planted Collard seeds twice each time the greens start to grow they are attacked by white flies(?) which eat little holes in the leaves. Anyone have any ideas what these could be and how do I treat them?
Joined Oct 11, 2014
@Lois Gant  Typically you should always do companion planting when it comes to greens in general......usually I plant onion, garlic and chives around my greens and no problems as whitefly HATES this stuff. However, since you are having an infestation now I would suggest getting some fresh garlic, peel, smash and steep in water in a spray bottle for a few hours and then spray away on your collard. Watch those little whitefly disappear quickly or die......they really really HATE garlic. Keep spraying all areas of your collards until the whitefly are gone or dead. Then go get some chives, onions and garlic and plant those so the whitefly do not come back!

HTH /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
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