Most of the tops of my sunflowers are breaking or splitting partially off and the flower dies. Even the smaller ones, before they even get mature or heavy. The top just hangs there and dies. I do not believe it is squirrels because some plants are to small. I do not see bugs either. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Al Webb 708-672-9455
Sunflowers Tops Breaking or Splittig
I have seen squirrels and groundhogs start climbing a sunflower until it tips over from their weight. (I'm sure we can add raccoons to the list.) Then they bite off the seed head. But I think you'd be able to see their teeth marks so that probably isn't it. Is this wind damage - something like whiplash? Some people stake sunflowers. Of course, severe lack of water/heat stress might weaken the stem. Are these all the same hybrid? Obviously, I'm struggling to find the answer. I would dig up one of the affected plants and inspect it carefully including an exam of the roots. If you find nothing, I would let the seed company know.