According to Penn State University Extension, Phytophthora blight may be the worst disease vegetable growers can encounter. It can be bad enough that some growers consider selling their Phytophthora infested farms and moving to a ‘clean’ farm.
When this disease sneaks into your fields, it settles in with the intentions of establishing a permanent home. According to the same article, Phytophthora blight can live in the soil for 7 or more years by setting up its own self-sustaining system underground. When the moisture begins to build, Phytophthora attacks and the decaying process starts in the stem at the ground level of the plant.
If Phytophthora blight invades your fields, you’ll first notice wilting pepper plants and soon see the fruit that is touching the ground begin to rot. As the disease spreads through the stems and into the fruit, white mold will begin to build around the rotting areas of the fruit.
Phytophthora can easily spread through water and soil. Here are some key ways to avoid the spread of the disease:
- Clean farm equipment used in another before using in your field
- Closely manage your irrigation system as water from an infected pond can infect your field
- Dispose of infected fruit properly, away from your field
- Use proper soil management practices
- Use tolerant varieties
Syngenta offers varieties with genetic resistance to Phytophthora, including Paladin and Intruder. Both varieties are great fits for the eastern U.S., and produce high-yielding, large fruit of consistent quality. Soil application of a fungicide with activity on Phytophthora, including Orondis® Ridomil Gold® SL fungicide, can also help manage the disease to ensure uniform crop establishment. Fruit rot control may be enhanced if soil application of Orondis Ridomil Gold SL is followed by a foliar program.
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