86 articles tagged "Cucurbits".

Earlier in August, downy mildew was reported on all cucurbit species in LaPorte County in northwest Indiana and on pumpkins in Starke County (just south of La Porte County). More recently, downy mildew was reported on cucumbers and butternut squash in Knox County in southwestern Indiana. In addition, downy mildew is strongly suspected on cucumbers in Jefferson County. Growers in nearby areas should take care to manage downy mildew if they have valuable cucurbit crops. However, this late in the season, it is unlikely that there will be widespread losses. Management of downy mildew of cucurbits is discussed in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2017 mwveguide.org and in the extension bulletin Downy Mildew of Pumpkin https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-140-W.pdf.  Note that downy mildew of cucurbits and downy mildew of soybeans are not caused by the same organism.  Please call Dan Egel if you have questions or concerns.


Figure 3: The pumpkin plants in the foreground of this photos have yellow leaves.

This time of year, I receive many complaints of pumpkin plants with yellow leaves. There can be many reasons why pumpkin plants have yellow leaves. The most common reason for yellow pumpkin leaves doesn’t have anything to do with a disease that can spread from plant to plant. Usually, the reason for the yellow pumpkin leaves has to do with lack of water, weather that has been too hot, nutrient deficiency or other stresses. The photos and discussion below will, I hope, illustrate my point. Let’s say you have a pumpkin field where you have pumpkin leaves that are yellow and you are wondering about the cause. You may want to ask yourself, which leaves are yellow and where are they yellow. In Figure 1, yellow pumpkin leaves may be observed.  When one looks a bit closer to find out where the yellow leaves are, one can see that the[Read More…]


Figure 1. Powdery mildew causes talc-like lesions on pumpkin leaves.

Powdery mildew is a common disease of cantaloupe and pumpkin in Indiana. Occasionally, I observe this disease on watermelon as well. Recently, I have noticed more powdery mildew than usual on watermelon. If left uncontrolled, this disease can cause loss of foliage, loss of yield and lower quality fruit. This article will discuss the biology and management of powdery mildew of cucurbits with an emphasis on watermelon. Powdery mildew is relatively easy to recognize; talc-like lesions occur on both sides of the leaf (Figure 1).  (This article https://vegcropshotline.org/powdery-mildew-symptoms-vs-variegated-leaves/ has additional information about powdery mildew symptoms. ) The fungus that causes powdery mildew, Podosphaera xanthii, does not require leaf wetness for infection of leaves, only high humidity. The optimum temperature for disease development is 68 to 81°F. P. xanthii may survive for a period in crop residue as a resilient fungal structure, but the disease is so easily windborne, that crop rotation is not always[Read More…]


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One of the most common diseases of pumpkin in Indiana is powdery mildew.  Growers are naturally anxious to observe whether the fungicide they have been applying for this disease has been effective.   Therefore, many pumpkin growers scout their fields for disease. Although powdery mildew is relatively easy to recognize, it is possible to become confused.   Figure one shows two pumpkin leaves.  The bottom leaf has the white, sporulation of the powdery mildew fungus in colonies randomly scattered across the leaf.   The top leaf, has silvery coloration primarily along the vein.  This latter leaf is a healthy variegated leaf.   Some pumpkin varieties show this type of variegation more than others. It may be a good idea to study the photo shown here so that one can tell the difference between a pumpkin leaf with the disease powdery mildew and a healthy leaf that is merely variegated

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After harvest, storing vegetables in optimal conditions is important to ensure the whole season’s hard work has paid off. This article discusses the optimum storage conditions for tomato, pepper, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe and sweet corn. Tomato Ideal storage conditions for tomatoes depend on the maturity stage of picking. If tomatoes are picked at mature green, store them in 66 to 70°F with 90 to 95% RH would encourage uniform ripening. Temperatures above 81°F reduce intensity of red color and reduce fruit shelf-life. Green tomatoes are chilling sensitive. If the temperature is below 55°F, fruit may develop chilling injury. Red tomatoes are safe to store at 50°F, however, flavor and aroma may be negatively affected compared to storing them at 55°F. Pepper Optimum storage condition for peppers is 45 to 55°F with 90 to 95% RH. Temperatures lower than 45°F may cause chilling injury. Colored peppers are in general less chilling[Read More…]


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I have observed this disease in scattered commercial pumpkin and squash fields across Indiana. Bacterial leaf spot of pumpkin is perhaps the most serious disease of pumpkin in Indiana today. Symptoms: Bacterial spot causes ⅛-¼ inch angular leaf lesions that are white to light brown in color (Figure 1). These leaf lesions may be accompanied by yellowing (chlorosis). The more important symptom is the lesions on fruit that are scabby to raised, round and a light brown in color. These lesions are often less than ⅛ inch in diameter and do not extend into the surface of the fruit. However, lesions may become secondarily infected in which case lesions can become an inch or more in diameter. Such lesions may grow into the flesh of the fruit (Figure 2). Any type of fruit lesion can ruin the marketability of the fruit. Biology: Leaf lesions, while unimportant economically, are important in[Read More…]


Figure 5. Breakdown and death of older cantaloupe leaves caused by manganese toxicity.

Manganese toxicity is a common problem for cantaloupes growing in sandy soils across southwestern Indiana. Because symptom of manganese toxicity can easily be confused with foliar diseases, growers may misdiagnose the problem and waste fungicides by spraying for nonexistent diseases. As we now know that manganese toxicity is a nutrient related disorder caused by low soil pH, it is important for growers to learn the symptom and address the problem in right directions. Manganese toxicity can develop on both cantaloupes and watermelons. But the symptom is more often observed on cantaloupes as they are more sensitive to acid soil conditions than are watermelons. The symptom on cantaloupes is first noticed when light green to yellow color shows between the veins on older leaves (Figure 1). Look at the leaves toward the sun and you will notice the chlorosis is formed by numerous tiny light green to yellow pin-hole type spots growing[Read More…]


I have observed very few foliar diseases of cucurbits this season. However, I have had several worried phone calls about these diseases, so here is an update. Alternaria leaf blight-this disease is caused by a fungus that survives in crop residue. It usually is not an important disease. However, Alternaria can cause brown lesions with a ring-like structure in them. This disease is more important on cantaloupe. I have not observed this disease in 2017. Anthracnose-after some effort, I have been able to start this disease in my own plots. Look for jagged, brown lesions on leaves and stems and pitted lesions on fruit. Except for my own experiments, I have not observed this disease in 2017. Gummy stem blight-this disease does not seem to occur as often as anthracnose. However, this disease showed up uninvited in my research plots. I have not observed this disease in commercial fields. The[Read More…]


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In southern Indiana, we are between generations of striped cucumber beetles. That doesn’t mean there are none out there, but numbers are lower than they were and lower than they will be. The second generation should be coming out soon. Northern areas are a little behind. The biggest concern we have with the first generation or overwintering cucumber beetles is their ability to feed on seedlings and to transmit the pathogen that causes bacterial wilt to cantaloupes and cucumbers. For the second generation, we are less concerned about bacterial wilt and more concerned about feeding damage to the fruit, particularly watermelons and cucumbers. If you are seeing beetle feeding on fruit, you should probably apply an insecticide to protect the fruit. If not, you are probably safe not spraying. For later planted pumpkins, the biggest concern is feeding on the plants in the seedling stage. Once the plants get larger,[Read More…]


Figure 3. Webbing produced on heavily infested cucumber leaves by two-spotted spider mite.

It is that time of year again, when the two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae; TSSM, Figure 1), and other mite species, show up in full force and wreak havoc on fruit and vegetables. These pests are very inconspicuous and often go unnoticed until the resulting damage appears. For TSSM this includes the webbing produced on heavily infested leaves or to the more trained eye, the characteristic yellow speckles or mottled symptoms on the upper surface of the leaves (Figure 2 and 3). The mites can be found on the underside, feeding with their sucking mouthparts. Cucumber, especially in organic production, can be the most susceptible. However, this pest feeds on a wide range of plants including tomatoes, melons, peppers, strawberries, apples, pears and grapevines, as well as flowers and field crops. Regardless of your production technique, an intervention is almost always necessary to control TSSM. In high tunnels in particular,[Read More…]


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