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CAULIFLOWER PESTS AND DISEASES
Cauliflowers suffer from the same range of pests and diseases as cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and others in the same vegetable family. Probably the most serious is Club Root, it's not an everyday disease but it renders the soil useless for many years as far as brassicas are concerned.
Less serious but much more likely is the Cabbage White Butterfly which can ruin an entire crop in the space of a couple of weeks.
CABBAGE WHITE BUTTERFLY
SYMPTOMS: Holes in leaves, generally poor plant health, the presence of caterpillars similar to those shown below or pale green coloured. The caterpillars will be most commonly seen in May and then June to August.
TREATMENT: For complete details on how to treat the Cabbage White Butterfly click here.
SYMPTOMS: The first signs you will have are plants that look wilted in warm weather, the leaves may have a bluish tinge to them. Typical of this disease is that the plant recover over night and may look OK in the morning only to wilt later on. The roots will be enlarged and distorted.
TREATMENT: For complete details on how to treat Club Root click here.
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- Best performing cauliflower varieties. We stick to the
common early summer and mid autumn varieties to avoid confusion.
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SYMPTOMS: The defining symptom of Cabbage Whitefly is the white cloud that arises when the leaves are disturbed. If you look at the underside of the leaves closely small white larvae will be present.
The larvae also exude a sticky substance which attracts infections turning it to a sooty black coating. This stage is serious because it will weaken the plant significantly and attract other diseases.
TREATMENT: Natural sprays containing Pyrethrum cab be effective but several applications will be necessary. For more severe case something like Bayer Provado Ultimate Fruit and Vegetable Bug Killer can be used but follow the instructions carefully.
As for non-chemical treatments, none have been proven to work. One I have heard of which will clearly work is to purchase a hand held car vacuum. Use the vacuum over the plant, paying special attention to the undersides. This definitely sucks up many of these pests but is not a total solution.
Garlic spray is one suggested solution as is attracting the natural enemy of whitefly, ladybirds and lacewings. Picking off or squashing individual whitefly is a pointless task, there are just so many surfaces for the bugs to hide in.