Problems of Broccoli

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 Broccoli
Symptom Probable Cause
Plant Forms Very Small or No Heads Buttoning
Yellow Flowers Appear before a Head Forms Bolting
Seedlings Cut Off at Base Cutworm
Little tiny holes in leaves Flea beetles]
Leaves turn yellow and are cupped downward Aphids
Small Holes in Leaves Caterpillars
Plants Disappear All or In Part Deer, Rabbits, or Woodchucks
Gray Patches on Lower Leaves Spread Upward Downy Mildew – a fungal disease



Plant Forming Very Small or No Heads is "Buttoning"

The cause of buttoning (producing little “buttons” instead of a big head) is hard to pinpoint. Broccoli is a heavy feeder, so inadequate fertilizer can cause the problem. Wide variations in water availability can also cause buttoning, especially a prolonged dry spell.

Yellow Flowers Appearing Before a Head Forms is “Bolting”

The appearance of yellow flowers all over the mature broccoli head signals that the plant has begun to set seed. This may be because the temperature has suddenly gotten too hot and the cool loving broccoli has hurried to flower and produce seed, called bolting, before it succumbs to the heat. In this situation use shade cloth to ward off the heat. It may also mean that the time to harvest the broccoli head has passed and it has matured to the next stage. Next year cut off the head earlier.

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