Our final What's That? Wednesday blog features yellow nutsedge. Yellow nutsedge is generally more of a problem in lawns than vegetable gardens. However, you may encounter it in the garden as it can come in with soil amendments. Nutsedge is a sedge, meaning it has a triangular stem and 3 leaves at each node while grasses have rounded stems and generally have two leaves. Nutsedge reproduces by underground rhizomes and nutlets. For a few plants, it’s easiest to just pull out the sedge, then watch the area. New plants will emerge from what was left underground, so pull every couple of weeks. Eventually the plant will run out of underground energy. Here are a couple of links with more complete information on nutsedge from Purdue and K-State Research and Extension.
Blister beetles feed gregariously on tomatoes, potatoes, beans, peas and many other vegetable crops. They are ash gray or striped to blackish. When crushed, they release a substance that can easily blister skin. Care and gloves are needed to handpick beetles off plants into a bucket of soapy water. Blister beetles generally move on after a few days.
Grasshoppers are indiscriminate. They will eat most anything. Some years it seems like they are everywhere. Other years, they aren’t so bad. The differential grasshopper and the two-striped grasshoppers are the most common seen in the vegetable garden. Control is best achieved when the insects are young and generally group together to feed. Here is information on their control from K-State Research and Extension if you feel control is needed.
Flea beetles are an annoyance on many host plants. They especially love eggplant, melon and beans. They are very small, jumping beetles---thus their name. They can vary in shape and color. Flea beetles are generally worse earlier in the growing season. If infestation is high enough, plant health will be stunted and can wilt. Here are a couple of good articles from K-State Research and Extension and University of Minnesota Extension about flea beetles.