Heavy rains prompt early arrival of phytophthora blight in specialty crops

Frequent heavy rains in the last month have increased disease pressure on specialty crops in the Midwest.

University of Illinois Extension Specialist and Plant Pathology Professor Mohammad Babadoost tells Brownfield he is seeing severe vine infection of phytophthora blight in their pumpkin research plots.

“We usually see symptoms of the disease in mid to early August, but this year, just last week I saw it in my plots.”

He says considering Illinois is the top producer of pumpkins in the US, this does pose a threat to final yields and harvested fruit. He says early infection to vines and roots can lead to crown and fruit rot.

“From now on we have to prepare enough fungicide to spray to prevent or minimize losses, otherwise those could be very high.”       

He says more heavy rainfall events this season would lead to crop losses as much as 100% but if it dries up impact should be minimal with proper management. He says pumpkins, melons, gourds, cucumbers, and peppers are most susceptible.

Interview with Mohammad Babadoost

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