Sorrel is an interesting herb, one that can be considered a vegetable or leafy green. The leaves of sorrel have a tart, lemony flavor that work well in a variety of dishes. It grows best in cool seasons, like other greens, and will bolt in the heat of summer. Another issue you may face growing sorrel is pests. Know the typical pests of sorrel and how to manage them for the best harvest.
Pests and Bugs That Eat Sorrel
The good news about sorrel is that there aren’t a lot of pests that like to nibble on it. Sorrel pest problems are limited mostly to aphids, snails, and slugs. You may also find that some species of butterfly or moth larvae will feed on the leaves.
It should be easy to determine the type of creature that is causing your sorrel pest problems. You may see slugs and snails in or around the plants early in the morning. Both these and larvae will make holes in the leaves. Aphids you should be able to see on the surface of the leaves, on their undersides, or in clusters along the stems.
Controlling Sorrel Plant Pests
The best sorrel pest control, of course, is prevention. Keep your plants thinned and spaced out from each other. This will force any invading pests to be more exposed to the elements, which they may not like. Keep each sorrel plant at least 11-12 inches (28 to 30 cm.) apart. You can also thin the leaves without reducing your harvest by very much.
If aphids are infesting your sorrel, an easy organic solution is to blast the leaves with water. This will knock them off without damaging the plants too much.
For snails and slugs, you have several options. When sprinkled around the plants, Diatomaceous earth will kill these pests by drying them out. Strips of copper around potted plants can also deter slugs and snails. Adding beneficial nematodes to the soil to kill slugs is another option to try.
There are chemical control methods; however, for the types of pests that tend to feast on sorrel, there are plenty of safer organic sorrel pest control strategies to try first.