Garden + Gardening + Gardening Tips & Advice

Spinach - Diseases, Pests and Problems

Basic Information

Problem: Aphids
Affected Area: Leaf and Stem

Description: Small Insects found on new stems and the underside of the leaf. Usually green. They suck fluids from the plant leaving a honey dew substance behind. Leaves turn pale yellow.

Control: Insecticidal soaps or spray with a strong stream of water to wash off. Ladybug beetles are natural predators. * Can use Rotenone in early growth. * Pesticide use and recommendations for various areas are constantly changing. Check with your County agent for current recommendations.

Problem: Slugs and Snails
Affected Area: Entire plant

Description: Large portions of young plants chewed away.

Control: Slugs and snails are very susceptible to desiccation (drying) and require a moist, shady place to live. Cultural practices, which promote a sunny, dry environment, will discourage them. Avoid too-frequent waterings allowing soil surface to dry out between irrigations. Keep garden free of debris, boards, bricks, and stones where they hide. Hand picking these pests is very effective. Create ?traps? for hand picking by laying boards in the garden. Slugs and snails will congregate under them. Lift the boards each morning and collect the slugs and snails. Dispose of them completely as they will crawl back if tossed out of the garden and eggs inside dead pests can still hatch to produce more of these pests. Slug and snail bait containing metaldehyde can be placed near food plants as long as they do not contact edible portions of the crop. Most effective when moistened, but not water logged. Snail bait attracts slugs and snails from several feet away so bait stations are effective. Stations help protect birds, pets and other non-target animals which are also attracted to the bait. Place small piles of bit under a slightly propped up board or use container such as a cottage cheese or yogurt carton. Bury carton to the mouth of the container. Place small amount of commercial bait inside and moisten with apple juice, orange juice or water. Cut hole in lid to allow access and place lid on container. Containers may also hold beer or yeast water to attract slugs and snails in where they drown. Place bait stations wherever slugs and snails are active or around perimeter of garden.

Problem: Beet Leafminer
Affected Area: Leaf

Description: Small whitish maggots feed between the leaf surfaces. Damage appears as winding trails in leaf tissue. As mines enlarge, they may merge and from large, light-colored blotched areas. Feeding lasts 1 to 3 weeks. They may pupate in the leaf or in the soil and 1/4" long, gray, flies emerge in 2 to 4 weeks.

Control: Remove and dispose of infested leaves. Floating row covers may screen out the fly. Control host weeds like lambs quarter to reduce local populations.

Problem: Cabbage worms, Cabbage loopers
Affected Area: Leaf

Description: Loopers are caterpillars that are generally green or greyish, taking on the color of the host plant. They may blend well and be difficult to see. They eventually develop into white- or yellow-winged butterflies often seen fluttering about the plants. Caterpillars feed on the underside of leaves leaving ragged holes sometimes to the extent that plants starve and die.

Control: Spray with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Comercially available as Dipel or Thuricide.) Cover with remay or similiar product in spring.

Problem: Downy mildew
Affected Area: Leaf

Description: Upper leaf surface has yellow-green areas. Underside has soft, downy white growth.

Control: Plant resistant varieties.

Problem: Damping off
Affected Area: Seedling

Description: New seedling wilts and dies. Becomes moldy.

Control: Reduce watering Increase spacing between plants



Spinach can be planted in July for a fall harvest.