Dan Egel’s Veggie Disease Blog

Dan Egel is an extension plant pathologist with Purdue University who works with vegetable growers across the state of Indiana. This blog will highlight recent disease issues, management options, meeting dates and new publications relevant to vegetable growers. Dan is located just north of Vincennes at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center.

Contact Information

Dan Egel
Southwest Purdue Agricultural Program
4369 N. Purdue Road
Vincennes, IN 47591
Phone: 812-886-0198
Email: egel@purdue.edu

www.watermelondr.info

Over the last several years, the number of questions I have had about tomato production in high tunnels has increased dramatically. Since I am a plant pathologist, most of the questions I have been asked are about diseases of tomatoes in high tunnels. However, I also have been asked production questions. One particular question about tomato product that may impact disease severity is this: how many staked tomatoes can be grown in a high tunnel effectively? To be honest, the above question is one that I often ask myself when I observe high tunnels in Indiana. It isn’t necessarily one that is asked by growers. But maybe it should be. It has been my observation that growers often try to place too many staked tomatoes in a high tunnel. The result may include diseased tomato plants due to insufficient air circulation, poor quality fruit and even reduced yields. I was[Read More…]


The goal of the Vegetable Crops Hotline is to provide vegetable growers with timely information that helps you to improve your vegetable production and marketing. This url tinyurl.com/lqww2lw links to a very short survey that will help us to make the Hotline more useful to you. We are especially interested in any comments you have regarding how we can improve the dissemination of information. This survey should take you less than 5 minutes to complete so we would be very grateful if you would take the time to complete it. This survey is voluntary and anonymous. All information is confidential and no hidden tracking of individual responses is being used. As always, thank you for your assistance.


Lesions of bacterial fruit blotch on watermelon seedlings are easily confused with angular leaf spot. Check with a diagnostic lab to be sure. (Photo by Dan Egel)

Bacterial fruit blotch is a disease that can affect most cucurbits (see Figure 1). However, the symptoms are most often observed on watermelon. A brief description of this disease and some photos can be found here. This article will introduce new recommendations for this disease in Indiana. Details of these recommendations can be found in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2015 (ID-56). Hard copies of the ID-56 are available from Purdue University now for $10. A free on-line version of the ID-56 will be available soon at mwveguide.org. Copper products such as those with copper hydroxide or copper sulfate are often recommended for management of bacterial fruit blotch (BFB).  However copper products applied too often can cause yellowing of leaves and even yield loss (phytotoxicity). Since BFB is mostly caused by rare contaminated seed lots, I have been reluctant to recommend copper products routinely for watermelon growers. However, the last few years I have[Read More…]


While visiting my son in Lincoln, Nebraska this past summer, I had the chance to browse in a second hand store.I felt myself drawn to the book section where I found a green hard cover book titled, “Yearbook of Agriculture, 1928”. From 1894 until 1992, the Department of Agriculture published a Yearbook of Agriculture annually. These books provided updates, features and statistics for the year. The reports actually go all the way back to 1862, when the head of the agriculture department, Isaac Newton, submitted a report to the Commissioner of Patents. (It turns out most of these books have been scanned and are on-line-I could have saved myself $1.50 had I known!) It is my plan to report on parts of the 1928 book that I think might interest vegetable growers in Indiana. The first subject which caught my eye were the statistics for processing tomato production. Below I[Read More…]


​For 100 years bacterial spot has been causing huge losses for tomato ​growers worldwide. For 100 years products containing copper have held the key to controlling this devastating tomato disease. As tomato growers enter their second century of dealing with bacterial spot, the question has become whether copper applications lessen the severity of bacterial spot-or perhaps even make the disease worse. This article will discuss bacterial spot of tomato, why copper products have become less useful in the control of this important disease and finish with options for managing bacterial spot of tomato with and without copper. The first symptoms of bacterial spot one is likely to observe are small, less than 1/8 inch dark lesions on tomato leaves. The lesions may appear watersoaked, especially in the morning and are often surrounded by yellow (chlorotic) tissue. These lesions, whether found on leaves or stems, may coalesce to cause the loss[Read More…]


Bacterial spot of pumpkin often causes scab-like lesions on pumpkins. In this photo

The title of this article is pretty scary. But it isn’t entirely accurate. Pumpkins won’t really rot from the inside out. In this article, I will describe one way in which pumpkins can seem to rot from the inside out. Recently, I was asked to visit a field of pumpkins where the pumpkins were soft and rotting. Some of the pumpkins had already burst. Some were soft and when prodded, the insides flowed out. I set out to try to understand how this could happen. Although it seemed that the rotted pumpkins were healthy on the outside, upon closer examination, I found lesions of bacterial spot on the outside of affected pumpkins. More information about bacterial spot can be found in Vegetable Crops Hotline No. 586. Most lesions of bacterial spot on pumpkin are scab-like on the surface of the pumpkin (see Figure 1). Occasionally, however, such lesions will become[Read More…]


​The Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Growers Association will hold their technical meeting and variety trial showcase on Thursday, November 20, 2014, in the basement of the Southwest Purdue Ag Center, 4369 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes, IN.The meeting will start at 5 p.m. with a general business meeting. At 6 p.m., dinner will be served. Then at approximately 7 p.m.,the variety trial discussion will begin followed by a brief presentation by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture on Food Hubs. Any grower interested in becoming a member is invited to attend. Membership dues are $15 per year and can be paid at the meeting. If you have questions or want to RSVP, please contact Sara Hoke or Dan Egel at (812) 886-0198 or email shoke@purdue.edu. RSVP are due by November 14th.


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​The photos that accompany this article are of lesions caused by various diseases that occur on tomato fruit. The list includes diseases I commonly see in Indiana, so the list is not all inclusive. More information can be found on the Purdue Tomato Doctor​ app​. I welcome any comments or questions. Bacterial spot of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) Bacterial speck of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) Bacterial canker of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) White mold of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) Late blight of tomato, which has just been reported in LaGrange County Indiana. (Click image for larger view) Blossom-end rot of tomato. This disorder is the only abiotic (non-disease) problem included in this article. (Click image for larger view)


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Over the past few weeks, I have observed several watermelon fields with relatively large areas of wilted plants.There can be several reasons for such symptoms.In the article below, I will discuss late season Fusarium wilt of watermelon.In a separate article, I will discuss mature watermelon vine decline.In a separate article/blog I discussed root knot nematode.All of these diseases can cause wilt and decline of relatively large areas of cucurbits. Fusarium wilt of watermelon is often observed when the vines are just starting to touch each other within a row. Sometimes, however, Fusarium wilt of watermelon does not show up until later in the season when the plants are near maturity. Fusarium wilt at this point in the season may cause a few vines to wilt (Figure 1). The distribution of affected plants is due to the distribution of the Fusarium fungus in the soil. Often well drained areas of the[Read More…]


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​The low tonight is forecasted to be 28 F. In preparation, we placed clear plastic over each row. This type of plastic is not vented. Therefore, one must be very careful to watch the temperature inside the tunnel when there is direct sunlight. Although we made it through last night, tomorrow morning will be the real test! UPDATE: After the cold night of Tueday morning–the tomatoes made it through fine. However, it didn’t get as cold as predicted. We found it difficult to manage the low tunnels when the sun was out during the day. Growers should be very careful about clear plastic tunnels without vents. The tunnels can get very hot. Clear plastic low tunnels over the tomatoes in the high tunnel. Note that there are no vents. Care must be taken to vent low tunnels if necessary. This can be done by opening the ends. The ends would[Read More…]


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