Guess the Pest! Week 4 & 5 Answer: Blowing Sand Burial

David Owens, Extension Entomologist,

Congratulations to Richard Wilkins for correctly guessing this week’s GTP as wind driven sand burial. Richard will be sent a sweep net, which I suppose might be semi-useful for brushing sand off of plants, and his name and other correct participants will be entered in the end of season raffle. Wind-blown sand is another reason early season vegetable growers are fond of putting in rye strips to help shield tender transplants. I am convinced we live on some of the windiest ground in the East.

The wheat in last week’s photo could be described as sandblasted, where damage occurs from windblown sand to plant tissues. However, this type of damage is more associated with corn in the Mid-West, while this wheat was suffering from sand burial. From the aerial image it is more obvious that the road and field with no cover were a source of wind erosion, allowing an accumulation of sand that didn’t kill the wheat, but simply buried most of the tillers, giving the
appearance of poor plant growth. When the wheat was uncovered the plant was still (at the time) healthy.