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flower sabotage - Sunflower head cut off

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Joined: 8/12/2006
Location: Ocala, FL--USA
Posts: 2
Posted: Aug/12/2006 7:25 PM PST

Electric fence or a security camera might catch the culprit, but what do I do with what they left me? I am new in my neighborhood and we have no fence up, so someone (bored child?) cut off my tallest sunflower head before it was even ready to bloom! I have never had this happen in years past. My question is this - is it possible that my sunflower stalk can grow a new bloom? It is a Mammoth sunflower. Should I just cut the whole thing down to let the sunlight to the other ones better?
Joined: 5/04/2006
Location: England
Posts: 754
Posted: Aug/12/2006 8:57 PM PST

I don't know if there are different types of big sunflower but, the little boy next door grew one and it bloomed and now that the flower is dying there are 3 new shoots/flowers forming down the main stem a bit. The same thing happened on my miniture one too.
Too bad you got a horrid little toad in your neighbourhood. Some kids just arn't brought up to respect other peoples property.
Joined: 6/06/2005
Location: Ontario, Canada..Zone 4
Posts: 8401
Posted: Aug/12/2006 9:27 PM PST

Sunflower girl, what zone are you in? State your location and you may get better assistance. In my area, it would be too late as I am in zone 4, Canada. If the head is ripe, here, the squirrels come in, cut it off, and cart it away.
vegemm photos
Joined: 11/07/2003
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1968
Posted: Aug/13/2006 12:57 AM PST

Different sunflowers will re-bloom...but not the Mammoth that I have ever can always take the wait and see method never knows in a garden...
Joined: 8/12/2006
Location: Ocala, FL--USA
Posts: 2
Posted: Aug/16/2006 1:41 AM PST

I'm going to do the wait & see method. This sunflower, stalk, is about a foot taller than the rest of the crop & I just don't want to lose the height. I got some other blooms just starting today - I planted late, but I can get away with it here in Florida. Thanks again. If I get anything out of it, I'll let you all know.
Joined: 4/15/2005
Location: Ontario, Canada, zone 5a
Posts: 6485
Posted: Aug/16/2006 3:51 PM PST

Are you sure it was a child that took the head off? I was wondering the same last year, until I saw a critter running off with the second one!
Joined: 8/29/2006
Posts: 1
Posted: Aug/29/2006 5:20 AM PST

I had the same thing happen to my sunflower and i thought it was cut off also but i found this article on the net: (always something is my motto, yikes)

Sunflower Headclipping Weevil

Species: Haplorhynchites aeneus (Boheman)

Description: The sunflower headclipping weevil adult is shiny-black in appearance (Figure 49). The weevil is about 0.31 inch (8 mm) long from the tip of the snout to the rear of the abdomen. The area behind the head and thorax is large and "squared" in relation to the narrow and prolonged head and snout.

Headclipping weevil larvae are cream-colored, somewhat C-shaped and grub-like in appearance and 0.16 to 0.24 inch (4 to 6 mm) long (Figure 50).

Life Cycle: Adults emerge in mid July and are active for a two to three week period. The females feed on pollen and nectar of flowering heads. In preparation for egg laying, the female makes one nearly complete row of feeding punctures around the circumference of the stalk just below the head and then lays an egg in the head. The girdled head subsequently falls to the ground, where larval development and overwintering occur.

Damage: Head clipping by H. aeneus is the most apparent type of damage caused by this weevil and frequently occurs along field margins. The percent of "clipped heads" in a field is normally very low (1 to 3 percent). However, losses up to 25 percent have been reported in individual fields (Figure 51).

Scouting Method: The weevils' presence is determined using the X scouting pattern. If the adults are encountered only periodically throughout the sampling sites, controls should not be necessary.

Economic Threshold: None established.

Management: Insecticide use has not been warranted for control of the sunflower headclipping weevil.
wan2hav blog photos
Joined: 8/13/2006
Location: east coast..Connecticut at the sound !
Posts: 509
Posted: Aug/31/2006 3:08 AM PST

Now thats something that I never encountered !!

I didn't plant sunflowers every year....but even then ..these little birds were the worst offenders of eating up the heads !

A insect that makes the heads of sunflowers fall off is really unusual.
Joined: 6/01/2006
Posts: 12
Posted: Sep/04/2006 2:49 AM PST

I'm sorry you lost the top of your sunflower, but I doubt it was a child. Do you have any deer in your neighborhood? There are other critters that are also more likely culprits than a child.
Joined: 5/10/2002
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 90
Posted: Sep/22/2006 9:03 PM PST

I've had problems with those weevils for years, but didn't know they were actually called "head cutting". They attacked my perennial sunflowers and spread to the neighboring purple coneflowers. The thing is, they don't make off with the heads--they just leave them hanging and sucked dry, sometimes before they bloom.. I finally got rid of the sunflowers in that bed and although I saw a few hanging heads on coneflowers and another patch of sunflowers this year, it was nothing like previous years.
Knock on wood--the weevils haven't invaded the beds at the lake house yet. I brought a lot of the perennial sunflowers up there before the weevil problem surfaced.
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