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Problem
(factsheet)
Plant NameTypeDescription 
Damping-offBeet, ChardDiseaseDamping-off is caused by fungi that remain in the soil for long periods of time. Infected seeds decay without germinating. Seedlings may be infected and fail to emerge from the soil. Emerged seedlings are also attacked, causing them to wilt and topple over. Water-soaked or brownish lesions are often visible on the stem at the soil line. Plants become more resistant to attack as they mature. Damping-off fungi are more of a problem in cold soils with poor drainage, and in conjunction with overwatering.
Downy mildewBeet, ChardDiseaseDowny mildew can infect any aboveground portion of beets and Swiss chard. The fungus can infect young cotyledon leaves, causing them to appear yellow, mildewed, and to curl downward. Larger leaves develop pale green to yellow spots on the upper surface, with corresponding white to grayish mildewed spots on the lower surface. These spots may later turn brown and die. The fungus can survive in infected seed and roots. Downy mildew is favored by cool temperatures and high humidity.
AphidsBeet, ChardInsectAphids are small, pear-shaped, soft-bodied insects. They may range in color from yellowish to dark green. Aphids typically feed on the underside of leaves, sucking sap from the plant tissues. Aphid feeding can cause foliage to yellow, and leaves may wilt if infestations are severe. Aphid feeding produces honeydew, a sweet, sticky material which may attract ants or become covered with a dark growth of sooty mold.
Beet or spinach leafminerBeet, ChardInsectThe beet or spinach leafminer is the larva of a small (1/4") gray fly with black hairs. Eggs are laid on the leaves of beets, chard, spinach, and weeds including lambsquarters. The emerging maggots mine between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf, forming narrow mines which later enlarge into pale blotches. Damaged leaves are distorted. The white larvae are about 1/4" long when mature. They emerge from the leaves and pupate in the soil.