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Plant NameTypeDescription 
Damping-offSpinachDiseaseDamping-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.
AphidsSpinachInsectAphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects. They vary in color from yellow to light or dark green. Aphids typically feed in colonies on the leaves, often preferring the newer growth. Infested leaves turn yellow and may wilt or show other signs of water stress. Feeding aphids often produce large amounts of honeydew, a sweet, sticky material which may attract ants or become covered with a dark growth of sooty mold. The honeydew-feeding ants may protect aphid colonies from predators.
LoopersSpinachInsectLoopers are green caterpillars up to about 1-1/2" in length. They may have pale or dark stripes along the body. They are distinguished by their characteristic looping or "measuring-worm" movement. Loopers feed on leaves of many plants, chewing holes in the leaves or feeding along leaf margins. The adult moth of the cabbage looper, one common species, is gray-brown and has a silvery spot on each forewing. Cocoons of this species can often be found attached by one side to leaves. The alfalfa looper moth is mottled brown, with silver markings. Both species have a wingspan of about 1-1/2". Eggs are laid on leaves of host plants.
Spinach or beet leafminerSpinachInsectThe 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.