Do you have a Swiss chard plant in your garden that is looking a bit sad? Are the leaves riddled with holes? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many gardeners have this problem, and fortunately, there are some solutions. In this blog post, we will discuss the possible causes of holes in Swiss chard leaves and how to fix them.
Why Are There Holes in My Swiss Chard Leaves?
Holes in swiss chard leaves are usually due to pests. Common Swiss chard leaves include cabbage worms, caterpillars, slugs, flea beetles, armyworms, aphids, and cutworms. All of these pests feed on the leaves of the plant, causing holes. Some of these pests can also spread diseases, which can further damage your plant.
You may not know these pests are present as they like to hide in the soil during the day and come out to feed at night. The best way to check for pests is to inspect your plant carefully, paying close attention to the underside of the leaves. If you see any pests, you can remove them by hand or use an organic pesticide.
How to Remove Pests from Swiss Chard Leaves?
It’s important to get rid of the pests if you want to save your Swiss chard plant. The best way to do this is by hand-picking them off the leaves. You can also use an organic pesticide, such as neem oil or pyrethrin. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.
Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is made from the seeds of the neem tree. It works by disrupting the life cycle of insects and preventing them from feeding on plants.
Simply mix a small amount of neem oil with water and spray it on the affected leaves. Be sure to coat the undersides of the leaves as well, as this is where most pests like to hide. You may also want to spray other plants nearby that could be affected.
How to Keep Pests Away From Swiss Chard Leaves?
Even though you may have gotten rid of the pests, there’s still a chance that they come back in the future to eat your Swiss chard plants!
The first step is to make sure that your plants are healthy. Swiss chard plants that are stressed or weak are more likely to be attacked by pests. Be sure to water them regularly and fertilize them according to the instructions on the label.
You can also try cleaning the area around your Swiss chard plants to remove any eggs or larvae that might be present. This can be done by hosing down the area with water or using a garden vacuum.
Gardens full of debris are more likely to attract pests, so be sure to keep yours clean. You should also remove any dead leaves or plants from your garden as these can attract pests as well.
Finally, you can use row covers to keep pests away from your plants. Row covers are pieces of fabric that you place over plants to create a barrier. They work by preventing pests from getting to the plants and laying eggs.
What Else Causes Holes in Swiss Chard Leaves?
While pests are usually to blame, there are a few other reasons to look at:
If you have animals in your garden, they may be eating your Swiss chard leaves. This is especially true if the leaves are close to the ground. Deers and rabbits are known to eat Swiss chard, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
You can deter animals by using fences or scarecrows. You can also try spraying the plants with a repellent, such as diluted vinegar or hot pepper sauce.
Another possible reason for holes in Swiss chard leaves is a disease. Some common diseases that affect Swiss chard plants include downy mildew, Alternaria leaf spot, and bacterial blight.
These diseases can be caused by too much moisture or poor air circulation. Be sure to water your plants at the base and not on the leaves. You should also thin out the plants so that they have room to breathe.
If you think your Swiss chard plant has a fungal disease, you can treat it with a fungicide, like neem oil. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.
Finally, the weather can also cause holes in Swiss chard leaves. HIgh wind, for example, can cause the leaves to tear. Hail and frost can also damage the leaves, causing them to develop brown spots or holes.
There’s not much you can do to prevent weather-related damage, but you can try to protect your plants by covering them with row covers, tarp, or blankets.
Should I Prune Swiss Chard Leaves with Holes?
It’s not a requirement to prune Swiss chard leaves with holes, but it can help the plant to focus its energy on new growth. Simply cut off the affected leaves at the base of the plant.
Pruning Swiss chard plants also helps to promote air circulation, which can deter fungal diseases. So, if you’re having problems with diseases, pruning your plants may be a good solution.
If you do decide to prune your Swiss chard plants, be sure to do it with clean shears and discard the affected leaves in the trash. Don’t compost them as this can spread diseases to other plants.
Holes in Swiss chard leaves are usually caused by pests, but can also be due to disease, weather, or animals. To remove pests, you can try cleaning the area around your plants, using row covers, or spraying them with neem oil.
I hope this article was helpful in diagnosing the cause of the holes in your Swiss chard leaves. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Happy gardening!
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.