Pepper disaster

Asked August 30, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

I usually have a bumper crop of peppers but this year the plants have been stunted and many of the fruits develop a hardened shell. Any help with this problem would be appreciated!

Harford County Maryland

3 Responses

This may be cyclamen mite or thrip damage. If the leaves look like herbicide damage such as curling or twisting, then it may be cyclamen mites.
It is recommended to pull out the plants and fruits and place in the trash not the compost bin. Our Plant Diagnostic website is under reconstruction. To view photos and more information go to our home page
Click on the tab 'Diagnostics' , 'Vegetables', 'Flowers, Fruits', 'External Markings', 'Cyclamen Mites', 'Thrips'

Thanks so much! I destroyed the affected plants but now I'm wondering if this will be a problem next year. Will the mites remain in the soil?

It is possible that cyclamen mites will overwinter in the immediate area, so if possible, plant your peppers in another location next year. Also, smartweed is a secondary host for cyclamen mites. Be sure to weed your garden area thoroughly. You may want to consider planting a cover crop this fall. You could sow crimson clover and/or oats and simply cut them and turn them in next spring.