When it comes to destructive diseases to watch out for in cucurbit crops, growers should have Anthracnose at the top of their list, particularly during warm, moist seasons. Caused by the fungus Colletotrichum lagenarium, Anthracnose can inflict significant damage on watermelon crops.
According to a University of Florida Extension article written for Growing Produce, all-above ground plants can be infected by Anthracnose. On watermelon foliage, symptoms begin as water-soaked leaf lesions that progress to dark brown or black spots. On fruit, circular, black, sunken cankers develop and may measure ¼”-½” in diameter, and up to ¼” in depth. Cankers lined with moisture will present a gelatinous mass of salmon-colored spores that cover the black center of the lesion. This visually striking symptom is unique to Anthracnose and can lead to significant reductions in marketable yield.
Syngenta offers several seedless watermelon varieties with intermediate resistance to Anthracnose, including:
- Attractive red, firm flesh
- Excellent yield potential
- Improved disease resistance
- Uniform, consistent fruit size and shape
- Improved fruit set for high yield potential
- Strong disease resistance and plant growth habit
- Large, oval-shaped fruit
- Excels in early to main season plantings
- Strong and vigorous plant for better performance under stressful conditions
Additional methods of control recommended by the extension include:
- Use of commercially produced, disease-free seed.
- Rotation to vine crops with unrelated crops in a three-year rotation.
- Incorporation of good sanitation practices like plowing under fruits and vines at the end of the season.
To learn more about other Syngenta cucurbit varieties, visit www.syngentaus.com/vegetables or contact your Syngenta sales representative.
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