Rhubarb Growing Problems

by Linda Croudace
(Northumberland)

I am growing rhubarb and have had several pickings but today I found a lot of the stems covered in small clear, gelatinous blobs which has an unsightly effect under the skin.
Not sure if it is the snails/slugs for which my garden seems to be an ideal holiday destination OR just the really bad rain and humidity we have been having OR something else I haven't considered. Can anyone shed any light?

Comments for Rhubarb Growing Problems

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Jun 14, 2010
Clear jelly blobs on rhubarb stems
by: Megan

Something is eating your rhubarb. That something could be caterpillars or beetles. Caterpillars usually eat the leaves so it's probably the Curculio beetle, sometimes called Snout beetle or Rhubarb weevil.

Rhubarb Curculios are usually red and grey/black with some yellow on their backs which rubs off. They are at least 1 cm long with curved snout-like mandibles which they eat with. When they attack rhubarb, not only do they eat it but they also make holes in rhubarb stems to lay their eggs in around springtime. The eggs drop to the surrounding ground and hatch in mid-late summer.

The clear jelly lumps on the rhubarb stalk are produced from the damaged holes. These holes are prone to decay, so controlling the beetles is important.

Try and keep dock plants away from your rhubarb as they can act as a host plant for curculios to breed on as well as a food source. To interrupt their breeding cycle you can clear away all debris surrounding the rhubarb plant, or cover the ground and any loose mulch with a flat layer such as newspaper, cardboard, matting etc.

The beetles themselves are large enough to pick or shake off and crush, or drown in soapy water.

Aug 26, 2012
RHUBARB WEEVIL?
by: Nigel from Suffolk

Today the leaves of my rhubarb have brown patches, and when I pulled the stems and cut them for cooking I found the insides very red and a small - 1cm long - grey with dark head maggot crawling. One suggestion received was that this is the rhubarb weevil, but I can find nothing about this in the literature or online.

Has anyone any clearer idea, and how can I eradicate this or control this, please.

Aug 06, 2013
Rhubarb just has decided to die and nothing will change it's mind
by: Dad

My rhubarb grows just fine for a few months, then starts dying one stalk at a time. I try less water and it dies, I try more water and it dies. Now, I find termites in the bottom of the stems. Termite guy says they are not causing the problem, that termites only eat dead vegetable material and that something is killing our plats making them available to the termites. I'm going to move the soaker hose so they only get whatever rain we get and it will be sink or swim for my rhubarb.

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