What is the organic way to prevent rhubarb leaves from having holes eaten from them?

  • 2
    There is a better chance of getting a good answer if you can show a pic or at least describe the holes in a bit more detail
    – user13580
    May 2, 2016 at 2:34
  • Rhubarb leaves are relatively poison( oxalic acid). Maybe what ate them won't come back. There was a small rhubarb farm across from my house in Indiana. The farmer never put anything on it . He just picked it. May 15, 2022 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


Step one - if the holes are not particularly large/numerous, ignore them, you don't eat the leaves anyway unless you have a death-wish.

Step two - identify the pest - often a quick trip at night with a flashlight is the most effective method - day or night, look under the leaves if you don't see things on top. You can't control or manage an unknown pest very effectively.

Once you identify the pest, control options can be considered - hand-picking, organic-blessed poisons (Bt, rotenone, diatomaceous earth, ...) encouraging or importing predators (attracting birds, buying ladybugs, predatory wasps, etc...) Many control options will have side-effects (organic-blessed poisons can poison beneficial insects/animals too) and the goal is acceptable damage levels (see step one) not eliminating anything that might eat a hole in the plant.

  • So use garlic cloves in the ground as insecticide? May 2, 2016 at 2:50
  • 2
    Garlic is not an insecticide. It may repel some things - others won't care. See step two, if step one even suggests doing anything.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 2, 2016 at 3:10
  • Chilli oil is a handy pest deterrent. Once they have a few bites they realize it is no good and soon stop eating the plants. It is not toxic to humans and as long as you wash the produce after picking, it should be fine to eat.
    – Viv
    May 4, 2016 at 2:21

It's probably wasps. For some reason they love to eat holes in rhubarb leaves and stems. Normally they use dead wood or hogweed etc to build their nests so why live rhubarb I'm not sure. Would be interested to hear if anyone knows.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.