How To Use This Problems Section
The chart is organized to give you a quick and dirty summary of the possible symptoms that you may encounter. Those problem causes for which we have full files will be linked to those files. Those causes with no link will have a paragraph below the chart helping you deal with that particular problem.
|Problems of Carrots|
|Carrots are Defoliated||Parsleyworms|
|Carrot has Tunnels||Wireworms|
|Seedlings Fail to Appear or Develop Forked Shape||Soil Problems|
|Carrot has Tunnels||Carrot Rust Flies|
|Tops of Roots Turn Green||Too Much Sun|
|Roots Twisted Around Each Other||Overcrowding|
|Carrot Roots are Split; Hairy or Tough||Moisture Problems|
|Carrot Covered with Hairy Roots||Too Much Fertilizer|
|Carrots are Defoliated||Weevils|
|Leaves Turn Yellow||Aster Yellows|
|Plants are Stunted||Root Knot Nematodes|
Seedlings Fail to Appear or Develop Forked Shape from Soil Problems
ecause carrots are a root crop and must penetrate deeply into the soil, the type and texture of the soil influences their shape and vigor. Even as they germinate they need light, airy soil so that the sprouting seed can break through to the sunshine above as well as grow downward. Heavy, crusted, or overheated soil effectively prevents them from even sprouting. Rocks and clumps or clods of dirt will cause developing carrot roots to split and distort into a forked shape as they grow around these obstacles.
To avoid these problems, take pains to prepare the seedbed for carrots well before sowing seed. Wait until the soil has dried out before digging it. Dig it up thoroughly, turning it over and breaking up lumps into small pieces. Cover the newly sown seeds with sand or fine soil that will not crust over when dry. Keep the soil moist. Provide shade for seeds planted in mid-summer so that the soil does not heat up. Garden fleece will do this job.
Top of Root Turns Green Because of too Much Sun
Sometimes carrots develop green “shoulders.” When the upper part of the developing root pushes above the soil line and is exposed to the sun, the tissues turn green. Vigorous growth or heavy rains that wash away soil usually cause this problem, but covering the carrot shoulders, but not the crown where the foliage emerges, relieves it. As carrot foliage grows thicker, it will shade the shoulders too. Cut off any green tops of harvested carrots and eat the orange part. The green part tastes bitter, but it’s not poisonous.
Roots Twist Around Each Other Because Of Crowding
Carrots that are twisted around each other are victims of overcrowding. It is essential to thin them out well, so that each carrot has about 2 inches of space to grow. Deformed carrots are still tasty and will store well; they just don’t look very much like normal carrots.
Carrot Roots Are Split, Hairy Or Tough Because Of Moisture Problems
Carrots are very sensitive to soil moisture levels. When the soil isn’t moist enough, the main root develops many small feeder roots so it can soak up any available moisture more efficiently. At the same time, it forms extra tissue to carry the water, so it becomes tough. On the other hand, if there’s too much soil moisture, carrots sometimes split along their whole length. This happens more often when they are close to maturity.
The key to assuring even, sufficient moisture to carrots and other plants is soil that’s rich in organic matter, which enables it to hold moisture, yet drain well. Improve your soil by adding chopped leaves, peat moss or compost, if you can get some. Try to keep the soil evenly moist during periods of irregular rainfall by watering regularly and deeply so that the soil does not dry out. Use mulch to prevent evaporation and run-off of moisture from the soil.
Carrots Are Covered With Hairy Roots Because Of Too Much Fertilizer
If harvested carrots are covered with small hairy roots, they may have had too rich a diet. To avoid overfertilization at any stage of their growth mix a slow-acting granular fertilizer into the soil in the spring when you plant. Do not feed the carrots for the rest of the season.
Leaves Turn Yellow Due To Aster Yellows Disease
Aster yellow is a bacterial disease that causes young inner leaves of carrots to yellow and later form dwarfed leaf clusters. Slightly affected plants may still be edible. The roots usually bulge at the crown, are stunted and have many hairy secondary roots. Leafhopper insects spread this disease, so the best control is prevention of them. Cover vulnerable carrot plants with garden fleece right after sowing the seed. Certain carrot varieties, such as ‘Scarlet Nantes’ and ‘Royal Chantenay’, are somewhat resistant to aster yellows.