Saturday, June 30, 2012

Turning over an old leaf (and more bugs)

Something I have noticed more and more is that the older leaves on my hop plants are becoming discoloured and even brown. There is a definite gradation from top to bottom, which is why I think it is associated with age. It is most notable on the Willamette:

but can also be seen on the Goldings:

and the Northern Brewer:

Currently I am happy to attribute this to general aging and being constantly exposed to the Texas sun. It is particularly noteworthy that the Willamette is sending out secondary shoots in the same region as the damaged leaves, which are a healthy green colour. This is the main reason I don't think it is a nutrition problem. The same is most likely true for an infection of any kind. The shoots are possibly also a natural reaction to the loss of these old leaves. All of the plants are doing really well so I'm not worrying about it.

On a completely different, more bug related note, I found this guy on our tomato plant not too far away from my hops:

I was told initially that this is a tomato hornworm. I've left my thumb in the picture to give you some idea of scale, not a small critter. Further reading seems to indicate that mine is in fact a tobacco hornworm rather than a tomato one. As you can see by this picture they look very much the same:

The most obvious difference is that the tobacco variety has stripes on its side whereas this one has V shapes. Also, the "horn" at the back (looks more like a tail to me) is black on the tomato version and red on the tobacco. If you look very closely on my picture you can see the red tail disappearing behind a leaf. The moths they turn into are even more alike. Here is the tobacco one:

And the tomato version:

Glad I don't have to tell these two apart. I haven't seen any indication that the larva has moved from the tomato plant and onto the hops. Somehow I think it will be a lot easier to spot on the hops than the tomato plant and so will quickly be dealt with.

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