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I've got raised veg beds, but nothing's growing. After a lot of investigating I've discovered symphilids inthe soil and that's what's eating the roots etc. Can anyone suggest what I can do to eliminate/reduce these very destructive pests ?


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,121

    Are you sure of your diagnosis? They are more often found in Glasshouses than outdoors in Britain, except in the very mildest of areas.

  • I've done a ridiculous amount of research, it's taken me since April to diagnose the problem, the upside is that I know a lot more than when I started !!!

     From sowing the seed in the greenhouse it all goes well, but the minute I put the seedlings (and much older plants)  in the beds they quickly start to struggle. Some die within days, but mostly they just hang on and grow in what I can only describe as a 'Bonsai'd' state, I've got teeny, tiny leaves on rocket, carrots, parsnips etc etc and there's often a bluish tinge to the foliage. The soil's good, but I think that might be the problem, the beds are new and this is their first season in use, they've been filled with Rowlawn fruit and veg soil and I wonder if this is why they're outside rather than inside where they're usually found....if you can understand that logic !

    I've done a lot of poking about and there is no sign of cutworms, vine weevil grubs, or any other soil based nasty, but just in case I treated with nematodes and have made repeated applications as per instruction. What I have found is very small white, wrigglers usually around 12cm or so down, under a magnifying glass they look like symphilids.

    By trawling the internet  I've realised that it's not something you find outdoors, especially in Manchester where I'm gardening, but I can't think of anything else it could possibly be. I'm also discovering there doesn't seem to be very much advice available, unless you're growing cannabis hydroponically.....which I'm not !!

     I'd be delighted to find out it's something else, something far more straight forward, any suggestions ??

    Thanks for taking the time Berghill.

    PS. Another clue was not having to do any weeding, I should have known it was too good to be true !!

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,121

    Certainly the blue tinge of the plants is one of the symptoms. Have you seen the creatures? They are like white wireworms or centipedes.

    The trouble is that there does not seem to be a treatment for them except turning the soil over and allowing it to freeze. They do not like the cold.

    Have you tried getting in touch with Rowlawn at They might be able to make some suggestions.

    You could also try the stuff used to kill Funngus gnats, Or I have seen  Neem oil suggested.

    Best of luck!

  • Yes, I'm pretty sure I've seen them, they're exactly like centipedes, but much smaller and white.

    I did think about using the stuff for fungus gnats, it's not really for trestment of symphilids, but I read it kills them too. I've not been able to find a supplier that isn't catering for hydroponic growrooms. If you've seen anything anywhere please let me know.

    I did a little bit of snooping around Rowlawn to see if anyone else has had the same problem, I didn't find anything, but that doesn't mean they haven't. I will contact Rowlawn and see what they say and if they've got any suggestions.

    I'm resigned to not getting much home grown veg this year which is terrible and if I weren't so fed up about it I'd marvel at the Bonsai'd veg ! I could live with it if I knew how to sort it out for next season, but to be in this pickle is very frustrating !

    Thanks for your interest Berghill and if you find out anything useful give me a shout.


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