Dan Egel

Clinical Engagement Associate Professor
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These lesions may be covered with a white mold during moist conditions. (Photo by Dan Egel)

​Most growers first notice this disease when large, soft areas develop on mature watermelon fruit. These lesions can be several inches across and are often covered with a white mold. The lesions usually form first on the bottom of the fruit, close to where the fruit comes into contact with the soil. Further development of the disease often results in lesions on the top of the fruit as well (see Figure 1). Conditions that favor Phytophthora fruit rot include warm, rainy weather such as occurred recently over much of Indiana. Water that stands in pools also favors severe disease symptoms. Overhead irrigation may help the disease to spread. Phytophthora fruit rot can spread rapidly when conditions are favorable. The organism that causes Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon is Phytophthora capsici. This organism is more closely related to algae than to fungi. Therefore, P. capsici is sometimes referred to as a fungus-like[Read More…]


(Photo by Dan Egel)

​Bacterial spot of tomato causes lesions on foliage and fruit of tomato. On leaves, the lesions begin as small water soaked areas and turn into brown lesions with a yellow halo. Lesions on stems often lack a yellow halo. Fruit lesions, which are responsible for direct loss of marketable yield, are often scabby in appearance (Figure 1).  Bacterial spot of tomato is favored by warm, wet weather. The causal bacterium survives on crop debris and may be seed borne. Volunteer tomatoes and peppers may also carry the disease. Transplant greenhouses should be cleaned and sanitized after each generation of transplants is produced. Management of bacterial spot of tomato has been covered in more detail here https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/swpap/VeggieDiseasesBlog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=31. The Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2015, also has recommendations.  In this article, however, I would like to discuss a new product that has recently been labeled for this disease. Quintec® has been labeled for[Read More…]


Pith necrosis of tomato may result in dark

​This disease has been reported in two different greenhouse situations. Although the disease is not usually economically important, a brief review of the disease is offered here to help tomato growers differentiate pith necrosis from more important problems. Tomato pith necrosis causes dark brown streaks on tomato stems and leaf petioles (Figure 1).  Often stems may appear twisted and distorted. When cut open, the stem may appear discolored and chambered (Figure 2). Eventually, the affected plant may become stunted and wilt. Tomato pith necrosis is usually found in greenhouses or high tunnels. Because the plant has a discoloration in the stem, it is sometimes confused with bacterial canker, a much more serious disease. A comparison of the two diseases can be found at https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/swpap/Documents/pith-necrosis%20.pdf.  It is not clear how pith necrosis spreads or enters the tomato plant, but it is probably best to remove affected plants and avoid using pruning equipment on diseased plants. When removing[Read More…]


​​A field day will be held on July 9 to share with the public the various research activities at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center in Vincennes, IN. The day will start at 7:30 A.M. with a health fair. Registration starts at 8:30 A.M. Presentation topics include: managing cucumber beetles while protecting bees, production of vegetables in high tunnels, canola production, hybrid cottonwood as a bioenergy crop, grape production, field crops disease update, soybean production, maximizing seed corn investment and benefits of starter fertilizer. Lunch is free with registration. A PARP class will be offered after lunch. Please contact Barb Joyner at 812-886-0198 or joynerb@purdue.edu to RSVP or go on-line at http:///tinyurl.com/2015SWPAC.


​Cabbage is the crop most often affected by black rot, however, other crucifers such as broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, kohlrabi or Brussels sprouts may be affected. The first symptom one is likely to notice is a ‘V’ shaped lesion on the margin of the leaf (Figure 1). However, the symptom on Brussels sprouts observed recently are irregular, jagged lesions on leaves (Figure 2). The plants represented in Figures 1 and 2 are different varieties of Brussels sprouts. The differences may be due to differences in susceptibility of the two cultivars or the cultivar in Figure 2 may have been infected at an earlier age than the one in Figure 1. Figure 3 shows two severely affected plants next to a relatively healthy plant. Black rot is most severe in wet, warm weather. The emergence of this disease during a rather cold spring may mean that the disease started in a greenhouse situation. The bacterium that causes[Read More…]


​A field day will be held on July 9 to share with the public the various research activities at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center in Vincennes, IN. The day will start at 7:30 A.M. with a health fair. Registration starts at 8:30 A.M. Presentation topics include: managing cucumber beetles while protecting bees, production of vegetables in high tunnels, canola production, hybrid cottonwood as a bioenergy crop, grape production, field crops disease update, soybean production, maximizing seed corn investment and benefits of starter fertilizer. Lunch is free with registration. A PARP class will be offered after lunch. Please contact Barb Joyner at 812-886-0198 or joynerb@purdue.edu to RSVP or go on-line at http:///tinyurl.com/2015SWPAC.


This watermelon transplant has a water soaked area just under the seed leaves

Most watermelon growers are in the process of placing transplants in the field. I have received several commercial samples of transplants still in trays prior to out-planting. The two diseases I have observed so far are gummy stem blight and bacterial fruit blotch. Below, I discuss these two diseases as well as management options. Gummy stem blight on transplant seedlings may be recognized by the watersoaked area of the stem (botanical term:  hypocotyl) as shown in Figure 1. The watersoaked area may eventually turn brown and woody.  A closer look at the woody area may reveal the small, dark fungal structures of the gummy stem blight fungus (Figure 2). The true leaves of watermelon transplants may also be affected. The fungus that causes gummy stem blight (Didymella bryoniae) may survive in crop debris, thus overwintering in the field from year to year. This fungus may also survive in seed. It is also possible for the fungus to[Read More…]


​Many cantaloupe and watermelon growers have planted transplants in the field or will soon. A question many growers often have is when and how should one apply fungicides.  Applying fungicides according to a weather-based system is easy for cantaloupe and watermelon growers. MELCAST was developed at Purdue University by Rick Latin to allow growers to apply foliar fungicides to control Alternaria leaf blight, anthracnose and gummy stem blight. When MELCAST is followed, fungicides are applied when they are most needed depending on leaf moisture and temperature. Details are listed below or in the extension bulletin, Foliar Disease Control Using MELCAST, BP-67-W. Download the bulletin at www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-67-W.pdf or contact Dan Egel for a copy.  The MELCAST program uses weather information from one of the 12 sites located around Indiana: Daviess County, Decker, Elkhart County, Gibson County, Jackson County, Oaktown, Richmond, Rockville, Sullivan, SW Purdue Ag Center, Vincennes, and Wanatah. MELCAST also[Read More…]


The tomato plants shown here are stunted

​Symptoms of this disease include tomato plants with lower leaves that become yellow (chlorotic) and die; plants that begin to wilt; a lesion on the lower stem at ground level (Figures 1 and 2). If tomato plants are removed from the soil and carefully split open from the ground level, a discoloration of the vascular tissue can be observed (Figure 3). It is important to note that this discoloration does not extend up the stem more than 6 to 8 inches. If the discoloration extends up into the plant canopy, the disease may be Fusarium wilt of tomato. Although growers may observe multiple plants begin to die of this disease over a period of days or even weeks, the fungus does not splash from plant to plant.  Therefore, there should be no plant-to-plant spread in the high tunnel. Temperatures from 68 to 72°F favor Fusarium crown rot and may explain why I observed this disease last week when[Read More…]


​Since the season of applying fungicides to vegetable crops has arrived, below I have listed 10 rules that will help vegetable growers apply fungicides effectively and safely. Apply fungicides prior to the development of disease. Although many fungicides have systemic (“kick back”) action they will not completely eradicate diseases after they have started. And by the time a single disease lesion is observed in the field, many more lesions too small to observe are already working at your crop.  Most systemic fungicides move less than an inch toward the tip of the plant or may just move from the upper to the lower side of the leaf.  Use shorter spray intervals during weather conducive to plant disease. Each plant disease has its own “personality” and thus prefers different weather. However, most plant diseases require leaf wetness. Therefore, during periods of rain and heavy dews, more frequent fungicide applications are a[Read More…]