Common Disease Problems
Fusarium Wilt: This is caused by a soil-borne fungus. The fungus enters through the roots and passes up into the stem producing toxic substances. Spores can also enter through the leaves from water splashing onto them as well. The first sign is yellow leaves followed by dying and dropping leaves. Burpee Recommends: Destroy affected plants at the first sign of fusarium.
Leaf Blights: These cause tan spotting on the foliage and the plants to lose vigor. Burpee Recommends Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Root Knot Nematodes: Microscopic worm-like pests that cause swellings (galls) to form on roots. Plants may wilt or appear stunted. This is a serious problem in many Southern states. Burpee Recommends: Do not plant into infested soil. Grow resistant varieties. Try planting ‘Nema-Gone’ marigolds around your plants.
Virus (Various causes): The most characteristic sign of virus is distorted or stunted leaves, small or distorted fruit and poor growth. Plants may weaken or die. Healthy plants usually recover from it. Burpee Recommends: Keep plants healthy and growing. Weak or dying plants should be removed. There are no available treatments.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Leaf Scorch: Leaves suddenly turn black and no disease or insects are present. Leaves are scorched from the sun. Burpee Recommends: This usually is only an aesthetic problem and no action needed. If this is a serious problem consider providing afternoon shade. Water in the morning or evening during times of drought.
Scale: Small bugs look like brown, black, gray to white bumps on the stems of plants. Scale may not have any apparent legs and may not move. Scales have a sucking mouth part. Scale may produce honeydew so leaves and stems may be sticky. Scale can weaken the plant causing it to grow very slowly and may wilt at the middle of the day. Burpee Recommends: Completely spray the stems with insecticidal soap. Destroy vines at the end of the year; do not compost them. For a severe infestation contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations for your area.
Slugs: These pests leave large holes in the foliage or eat leaves entirely. They leave a slime trail, feed at night and are mostly a problem in damp weather. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick, at night if possible. You can try attracting the slugs to traps either using cornmeal or beer. For a beer trap, dig a hole in the ground and place a large cup or bowl into the hole; use something that has steep sides so that the slugs can’t crawl back out when they’re finished. Fill the bowl about ¾ of the way full with beer, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the bowl should be full of drowned slugs that can be dumped out for the birds to eat. For a cornmeal trap, put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a jar and put it on its side near the plants. Slugs are attracted to the scent but they cannot digest it and it will kill them. You can also try placing a barrier around your plants of diatomaceous earth or even coffee grounds. They cannot crawl over these.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Do maypops attract pollinators to the garden? Maypops are visited by bees, butterflies and humming birds.
There are caterpillars on my maypops, what should I do? Maypops are host plants for butterfly larvae including: gulf fritillary, variegated fritillary, julie and zebra longwing butterflies. Unless it is a very bad infestation it is best just to leave them alone.
What do maypop fruits taste like? Maypops have an apricot-like flavor.
How do I eat a maypop? Like citrus fruit, the outer rind is peeled away to reveal a cavity of edible pulp and seeds.
My maypop isn’t up yet what should I do? Maypops start growing late in the spring after most plants have already started growing. They usually pop up in mid to late May.