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

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…]


Since we are well into fungicide application time, 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 good idea. The normal[Read More…]


White mold or timber rot of tomato causes a light brown area on the stem and a wilt of the plant.

White mold has a large host range including tomatoes (where it may be referred to as timber rot), cucumbers, lettuce and snap beans as well as many more. In this article, I will concentrate on white mold on tomatoes in a greenhouse situation. Although white mold will occur in a field situation, this disease is more common in a greenhouse due to the higher relative humidity than in a field situation. Perhaps the most common symptom of white mold of tomato is the light brown area on the lower stem (Figure 1 and 2). This brown area is essentially dead and will result in the wilt and death of the plant above that point. Either on the outside of this dead area or inside the stem, dark, irregularly shaped fungal bodies can usually be found. These fungal bodies (known as sclerotia) are diagnostic of white mold. Recently, I had a complaint of severe[Read More…]


Cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkin growers can use information in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers (ID-56) to help determine what fungicides to apply. The MELCAST system (see accompanying article in this issue) can be used to help to decide when fungicides should be applied. I have developed two fungicide schedules that I hope will help growers determine the sequence of fungicides. One fungicide schedule is for cantaloupe and watermelon growers and the other one is for pumpkin growers. Growers who are interested in obtaining a copy of these fungicide schedules should contact Dan Egel using either the email or the phone number listed above. I look forward to getting feedback about the usefulness of these schedules.


Many cantaloupe and watermelon growers have transplanted seedlings to the field. Soon, these growers will have questions about what and when to apply fungicides. The article below in this issue of the Vegetable Crops Hotline will address what fungicides to apply (Fungicides schedules for cucurbits). This article discusses when to apply fungicides with the MELCAST system. MELCAST (MELon disease foreCASTer) is a weather-based disease-forecasting program for cantaloupe and watermelon growers developed By Dr. Rick Latin at Purdue University. Instead of using a calendar based fungicide application program where one applies fungicides every 7 to 14 days, the MELCAST program lets growers apply fungicides when the weather is most conducive to disease. The diseases for which MELCAST may be used for are: Alternaria leaf blight, anthracnose and gummy stem blight. Details are listed below or in the extension bulletin, Foliar Disease Control Using MELCAST, BP-67-W. Download the bulletin at http://www.extension.purdue. edu/extmedia/BP/BP-67-W.pdf or[Read More…]


Figure 3: Mottling of a tomato leaf caused by tomato spotted wilt virus.

Tomato spotted wilt virus can cause stunting (Figure 1), necrotic ring spots (Figure 2), mottling (Figure 3) or chlorosis (Figure 4). In Figure 5, a pepper plant is shown with a ring-like lesion due to tomato spotted wilt virus. Figure 6 is a photo of a pepper transplant with mottled lesions due to impatiens necrotic spot virus. Both TSWV and INSV can cause symptoms on many hosts including ornamentals. Figure 7 is a photo of INSV symptoms on begonia. For more information about the biology and management of these diseases see here.


A tomato leaf with necrotic rings caused by tomato spotted wilt virus.

While many virus diseases affect pepper and tomato plants, in the Midwest, the most common virus diseases of these two crops are tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INVV).  These diseases are usually observed in greenhouse or high tunnel situations. The two viruses, TSWV and INSV are closely related. In fact, at one time, they were both considered TSWV. Therefore, the symptoms, biology and management of these two diseases are similar. This article discusses the symptoms, biology and management of these two diseases. Both TSWV and INSV affect many hosts, including vegetables and flowering ornamentals. Symptoms vary according to host, stage of plant affected and environmental conditions. Both diseases can cause stunting, yellowing, necrotic rings, leaf mottle and more. Figure 1 shows a tomato leaf with necrotic rings caused by TSWV. Figure 2 shows a pepper transplant with ring spots caused by INSV. Additional symptoms may[Read More…]


Another update has been added for the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2017.   Under Root maggot controls for rutabagas, please substitute the information below for the existing information on page 211. Lorsban 15G at 3.3 fl. oz per 1000 linear ft. of row at planting or Lorsban 4E/Advanced at 1 fl. oz/1000 linear ft. of row at planting.


Many cantaloupe and watermelon growers are either growing transplants in a greenhouse or are expecting delivery of transplants in the next few weeks. Either way, growers should inspect transplants for disease before planting in the field. Below I will describe several common transplant diseases of cantaloupe and watermelon as well as management options. Gummy stem blight on transplant seedlings may be recognized by the water soaked area of the stem near the seed leaves (Figure 1). (A water soaked area near the soil line is more likely to be damping-off.) The water soaked 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. Medium brown, irregular lesions may also be observed on true leaves. The fungus that causes gummy stem blight (Didymella bryoniae) may survive in crop debris, thus overwintering in the field[Read More…]


: These lesions of bacterial speck of tomato were observed on a tomato transplant for sale to homeowners at a retail outlet. Tomato transplants should be inspected for disease symptoms during production or at delivery.

Many Indiana growers may have tomato transplants growing in a greenhouse for field or greenhouse/high tunnel production. The three most likely diseases are bacterial spot, bacterial speck and bacterial canker. This article describes symptoms for these diseases and some management options. While these bacterial diseases thrive in transplant production where plants are often overhead watered, these diseases are not common on tomatoes grown to maturity in greenhouses or high tunnels. This is because, for the most part, tomatoes grown to maturity in a greenhouse or high tunnel do not have the necessary leaf wetness required for these diseases. Bacterial canker is occasionally observed in greenhouse/high tunnel situations since this disease may become established in transplants and becomes systemic in plants. Once bacterial canker is systemic in the plant, it ‘spreads’ within each plant even if it does not spread from plant to plant. Bacterial speck and spot – The symptoms produced by these two diseases are[Read More…]


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