This is my poor roselle bush. See the stunted, twisted growth?
This is a dwarf mulberry tree. See the cup-shaped leaves, that look like crumpled paper?
This is piper auritum, hoja santa. Note the same exact curling of the leaf edges and crumpled-paper appearance?
And the final photo, this is turmeric. Same curled edges and stunted growth.
At first I thought this was leaf-curl virus because I noticed it in the mulberry first. I just planted that mulberry and I thought it brought a virus with it, and the virus was spreading. Then I started paying attention and realized that the plants that seemed the most affected were not from related plant families. So I started looking for other plant diseases that would affect these plant families and cause these symptoms and found nothing. Other plants were affected too- greasy beans, cucumbers, the persimmon tree, and all my chile pepper plants too.
Then I remembered seeing this article on The Survival Gardener. The only thing these plants all have in common? They’re all mulched with tons of hay. Farmers spray herbicides on their hayfields to kill pigweed (amaranth) and other broadleaf weeds. Then they harvest the hay and the herbicide is still there. I purchased a big roll of hay in the spring off of Craigslist. I asked the guy if he used herbicides and he said no, so I didn’t think anything else about it until now. Once I saw the herbicide-poison photos, I took all these photos and sent them to The Farm Doctor. She agreed that it looks like herbicide poisoning.
So tomorrow I get to rake up all the damn hay all over the garden and hope that whatever herbicide this is, it disperses quickly. The irony here is that the herbicide-laced hay mulch doesn’t seem to have affected the “weeds” in the garden whatsoever!