Cucurbit Downy Mildew – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Cucurbit Downy Mildew

Cucurbit downy mildew has been observed on cucumber in La Porte County and LaGrange Counties, Indiana. Downy mildew of cucurbits has also been reported in southern and central Kentucky. All cucurbit growers in Indiana should be scouting and managing for downy mildew.

The organism that causes downy mildew of cucurbits doesn’t overwinter in Indiana. It has to be blown in every year. It is common for downy mildew to start the season in the Gulf States and migrate north with the cucurbit crops. Downy mildew apparently overwinters in northern Michigan/southern Ontario in greenhouses where cucumbers are grown year round. Therefore, downy mildew is often found in Michigan before it is found in Indiana.

Many cucumber varieties have some resistance to downy mildew. For susceptible cucumber varieties or other types of cucurbits, specialized systemic fungicides will help to reduce the severity of downy mildew. Unfortunately, many of the most effective systemic fungicides for downy mildew are not effective on our more common cucurbit diseases. This is because the organism that causes downy mildew, Pseudoperonospora cubensis, is not really a fungus at all. P. cubensis is more closely related to a brown algae. This fungus-like organism is related to the organism that causes Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora capsici). Therefore, many of the same fungicides that are effective against downy mildew are also effective against Phytophthora blight.

The Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers lists several products that will help to slow the progress of downy mildew of cucurbits. Among the products listed as likely to be effective against downy mildew include: Elumin®, Forum®, Gavel®, Orondis Opti®, Orondis Gold®, Orondis Ultra®, Ranman®, Zampro® and Zing®. Be sure to check the label for the re-entry interval, the pre-harvest interval, the FRAC group and other important information. Always alternate FRAC groups.

One other item of interest: Downy mildew of cucurbits is not caused by the same organism which causes downy mildew of soybeans. Therefore, downy mildew of soybeans will not spread to the pumpkin field immediately adjacent.

Below, find a photo of downy mildew of cucumber. Note that the yellow lesions are scattered across the leaf, not concentrated on the edge of the leaf. Under moist conditions the underside of the lesions will have the dark, fuzzy growth of the fungus-like organism that causes downy mildew.

Figure 1: Downy mildew of cucumber can be recognized by the yellow lesions scattered across the leaf. Downy mildew of cucurbits has been reported in Indiana.


Share This Article
It is the policy of the Purdue University that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue is an Affirmative Action Institution. This material may be available in alternative formats. 1-888-EXT-INFO Disclaimer: Reference to products in this publication is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may have similar uses. Any person using products listed in this publication assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.
Vegetable Crops Hotline - Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907

© 2022 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Vegetable Crops Hotline

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Vegetable Crops Hotline at | Accessibility Resources