A question for the gardeners…

UPDATE: After several comments and advice I consulted the county extension agent. He said it was herbicide damage. I didn't think it was but later Steve looked more closely at our yard and our neighbor's yard and he said the same thing. No bugs, no disease – Ms. Neighbor's pre-emergent. The plants are not happy, but I think most of them are going to make it. I'm going to have to replant the zinnia seeds though…

My yard has lots of salvias. All sorts of varieties. From a distance they are looking good…

FrontYardBlooming-2012 copy

…but if you get close you can see that something is bad wrong. Click on the photos and they should open at a larger size.


The Russian sages aren't blooming yet, but the leaves that were green are curling up and dying.


Do any of you have a thoughts about what's doing this? I haven't seen any insects. If they are there, they are tiny. I have so many salvias that even if I need to spray them I doubt that I could get to all the leaves. 

I hope that this is something that will go away on its own. If the plants die to the ground but then grow back that would be OK. If this is something that is going to stick around in or on the soil I'm not sure what I'll do. We try to be organic and I'd hate to have to spray a bunch of poison on the yard.

11 thoughts on “A question for the gardeners…

  1. I have several different salvias and don’t remember ever seeing anything like that. Do you have a Callaway’s there? Or any reputable nursery could probably tell you what it is and treatment if you cut several stems and took in. That said, I don’t think you can kill it. You can probably cut it all back to 6″ from the ground and let it come back. I suspect a bug from the brown circles in the middle picture. I use Sevin. Neil Sperry could tell you what it is and what to do!


  2. If you take a sample to the nursery be sure it’s in a ziplock! They can usually offer some alternatives that aren’t as toxic or search online for a local “green” nursery, they are out there in most areas now.


  3. It is probably a bug, but one way to deal with it organically is to try spraying it top to bottom with a hard stream of water (preferably in morning or daytime so foliage can dry before night)-I would do this daily for a few days… sometimes that is the quick and easy way and works great if you can knock down the population of the bug.


  4. I spray with a mixture of baking soda with a little bit of liquid soap in it. The baking soda kills the bug and soap makes it stick to it. I spray anything with bugs this way.


  5. I think you should investigate a mite infestation. The leaves are browning and curling just like they do with mites. I’m certainly not an expert, but I had this same thing, but on my annuals in my front garden two years ago. Nothing helped until I sprayed a miticide (in desperation). AND, mites ARE tiny. Sometimes you can find them by taking a leaf and “stripping” it with two fingers. You are left with mites or bits of mites and you go VIOLA!!! They are small and deadly. I certainly hope you can find what’s doing it. It would be a shame to lose that whole patch of beautiful plants.


  6. I should have told you that I don’t know if there are organic miticides, but you can research that. This won’t go away on it’s own if it is mites. And, they lay eggs that remain in the soil and hatch with the next crop of plants……… ugh! Hope you find a solution!


  7. The Extension Office should have a good answer…. not that they are organic. Phone: (903) 813-4206.
    First look at middle picture I said to myself, it is one of those things that goes away when it get hot…. the Russian sage picture not so sure… if you end up “cutting down” would be sure it hits the curb and not the compose….


  8. I took my samples to Chuck at the extension office today and hes sort of stumped. He thinks it looks like herbicide damage but we havent sprayed anything and I dont think any of our neighbors have either. I went out and looked more closely and most of the plants are showing damage. What a mess – that I dont have time to deal with!


  9. Becky, I had my hubby take a look… he said it’s possible the first picture was caused by a biting, sucking insect, but his first guess was herbicide damage. He said the second photo is definitely herbicide damage. Do you have a neighbor who sprays Roundup or other herbicides? He said it could possibly have been in the soil. IF it’s systemic, there’s not much you can do to save them. :o(


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