Re:leaves detaching

>From: Cliff Andrews <CLAndrews at gnn_com>
>Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 18:27:30

> I have plants dropping their leaves in large amounts. Thought it was the
>water quality at first, until I looked at several leaves under a microscope
>and noticed at the damaged portion there were little ?(bugs) there. Some
>types of plants are not affected.
>   a.) What are they ?
>   b.) How do I kill them ? (with no risk to plants)

I don't know what magnification you were using.  There is a small,
brown-colored water mite that may do a small amount of damage.  I have seen
them for a long time, but only recently have I had any evidence that they
damaged plants.  I am pretty sure they were responsible for doing some
damage to leaves of Hygrophila corymbosa.  They have the typical mite shape
with a 'teardrop' shaped body and eight legs.  They are very slow moving.
On the other hand, the 'little bugs' may be protozoa, possibly ciliates of
some sort if they were relatively transparent, small, and fast moving.
They are harmless and are feeding on bacteria.  It might be all those dead
leaves that are stimulating the bacterial growth.  It probably *is*
something to do with water quality that is causing the leaf fall.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In cool, dry Mississippi