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

Leaf lesions of Botrytis gray mold are often a light gray or brown color and the sporulation of the causal fungus can be seen on the leaf margin.

​Gray mold of tomato is one of the more common diseases of greenhouse-produced tomatoes. Although it is often a minor problem, if left unchecked, gray mold can cause yield loss. Gray mold, or more properly, Botrytis gray mold, often causes a light gray or brown necrotic lesion on leaves (Figure 1). The lesions on leaves are sometimes wedge shaped on the margin of the leaf. Stem lesions are a similar color and may encircle the stem, causing the death of the upper portion of the  stem. Occasionally, gray mold may cause the rot of tomato fruit. Whether on leafs, stems or fruit, the gray fungal sporulation is often easily seen, thus the name. It is a rare symptom, but when fungal spores land on tomato fruit that is wet, the spores may germinate, causing a symptom known as a ghost spot (Figure 2). Botrytis gray mold can cause disease on many different host plants, enabling[Read More…]


Downy mildew of watermelon causes dark brown or black lesions often surrounded by a yellow halo.

This disease has been observed on watermelon in Knox County. The following article will discuss the symptoms, biology and management of downy mildew of cucurbits. Symptoms. The symptoms of downy mildew vary depending on the host.    On watermelon, the lesions start out as chlorotic (yellow) areas that become round and necrotic (brown/black) areas surrounded by a chlorotic halo. Lesions may be limited by veins (Figure 1). Note that leaf lesions of gummy stem blight may have dark fungal structures (pycnidia) present that are lacking with downy mildew. Also, whereas gummy stem blight will affect stems and petioles, downy mildew will not.  Pumpkin lesions also start out chlorotic and are often angular. Eventually, the chlorotic lesions become necrotic. Lesions may be more common along a vein. Lesions on muskmelon often have poorly defined margins and are not as angular as described above for pumpkin.   Cucumber lesions start out chlorotic and very[Read More…]


Powdery mildew of tomato is easily recognized from the sporulation of the white fungus on the leaves.

​This disease has been reported near West Lafayette and in Wanatah Indiana. Powdery mildew of tomato can be recognized by the white fungal colonies on both leaf surfaces (Figure 1). Occasionally, stems may also be infected. Severely affected tomato plants may have leaves that turn chlorotic and necrotic. Fruit will not be directly affected. The causal organism has been tentatively identified as Pseudoidium neolycopersici, formerly Oidium neolycopersici. This fungus may survive as resting structures on host material. The spores are easily wind dispersed to additional tomato plants. Development of this disease is favored by temperatures below 86°F. As with most powdery mildew diseases, high humidity allows the disease to develop; leaf wetness is not necessary. Since high humidity favors powdery mildew of tomato, greenhouse environments often favor the disease. Reports of powdery mildew on tomato are not common in Indiana. There is no data on yield loss from this disease on tomato. Nevertheless, if this disease is present, management options should be considered. Several systemic[Read More…]


Magnesium deficiency in cantaloupe often occurs in high

​I have observed many fields of cantaloupes with magnesium deficiency or manganese toxicity. Watermelon plants may exhibit similar symptoms, but not as frequently as cantaloupe. Both disorders are related to acid (low pH) soils and usually occur in clusters in a field. Magnesium deficiency usually appears on sandy ridges and can be recognized by interveinal yellowing and death of tissues on older leaves (Figure 1). Manganese toxicity also first occurs on older leaves but appears in heavier or darker sands, often in low areas of the field. The diagnostic feature of manganese toxicity are the tiny pin-hole type lesions with yellow halos clustered between the veins (Figure 2). Leaves are best viewed when held up to the sun. These disorders can easily be confused with an infectious disease. In particular, magnesium deficiency has been confused with Alternaria leaf blight. Symptoms may seem to “spread” from areas of the lowest pH[Read More…]


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…]


​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…]


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.


​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.


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