Problems with Parsnips & Celeriac Leaves – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

I’ve been a little confused by my celeriac and parsnip plants these last few months, probably since October. I couldn’t understand why the leaves were turning brown and then paper thin before dying off. It’s been very strange. However, I think I’ve figured it out after asking around… celery leaf miner.

I’m quite used to seeing leaf miners in spinach and chard leaves in my plot – they leave a clear trail, like a little maze, tunnelling in between the front and back surfaces of the leaves and it’s quite visible. However, with the celery leaf miner, the evidence has been harder to spot. I initially thought they were running out of water in that dry part of early autumn, but they didn’t bounce back even after some heavy rains. Then I thought perhaps some kind of blight, as the damage looks really very similar – patchy brown leaves dying off. But the roots themselves have been fine, so I ruled this out.

Eventually I came to celery leaf miner, and having seen some of the images for this problem when I searched for it, it definitely looks the same.

I understand that celery leaf miner is more of a problem earlier in the year, and usually not from October onwards, but I guess this is an unusual year…I’ve hardly seen any frosts where I live in Cornwall, and I think they have just carried on eating for longer because it has been so mild.

I’m glad to have worked this out, and can be a bit more on guard next year. I’m sure some horticultural fleece laid over the rows of celeriac and parsnip would be an effective solution. For now, I’m just glad the roots themselves are intact – and actually I can see some new healthy leaves emerging too, so all is not lost!

Infected leaves, beginning to turn

Old leaves died off, new leaves growing through