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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Vegetable > Cabbage > Holes or split in head

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Cabbage > Head > Holes or split in head

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  • Image: Cabbage Looper 1
  • Image: Cabbage Looper 2
  • Image: Cabbage Looper 3

Cabbage Looper
Trichoplusia ni

  • Larvae feed on leaves resulting in large ragged holes
  • Severely defoliated plants may not form a head
  • Dark green larva excrement may be present
  • Larvae are up to 1 ½ inches in length, light green, and move in a characteristic “looping” action
  • Present from early July to late August
  • More information on Cabbage Looper
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  • Image: Imported Cabbageworm 1
  • Image: Imported Cabbageworm 2
  • Image: Imported Cabbageworm 3

Imported Cabbageworm
Artogeia rapae

  • Larvae feed on leaves causing irregularly shaped holes
  • Larvae are up to 1 inch in length, velvety green in color with faint yellow stripes running longitudinally on the back and sides
  • Larvae are present throughout the growing season
  • Brown larva excrement may be present
  • More information on Imported Cabbageworm
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  • Image: Diamondback Moth 1
  • Image: Diamondback Moth 2
  • Image: Diamondback Moth 3

Diamondback Moth
Plutella xylostella

  • Larvae feed on leaves, turning tissue opaque/white color
  • Affected tissue eventually falls out resulting in small holes
  • Larvae feed on developing heads which can cause deformities
  • Larvae are up to 1/3 inch and pale green in color
  • Present throughout the growing season
  • More information on Diamondback Moth
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  • Image: Bird Damage 1

Bird Damage

  • Birds peck at heads looking for insects
  • Head may appear shredded in the center
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  • Image: Head Splitting 1

Head Splitting

  • May be caused by heavy rain following drought
  • Excessive fertilizer may cause head to split
  • Split may start small and expand across the head

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