Diseases in the cultivation of vegetables
Growers Mulch

Diseases in the cultivation of vegetables, among the most common Phytophthora

By their own nature, crops are constantly exposed to diverse environmental factors that can compromise their integrity and significantly affect the regular functions of plants, in this case, as a result of the continuous action of one or more pathogens that promote the generation of diseases in the cultivation of vegetables.

Today, these diseases are the reason why many farmers are facing the loss of their crops. Therefore, they experience a constant struggle to design strategies that allow them to take effective and timely measures to solve the setbacks that arise.

One of the most common diseases when it comes to the cultivation of vegetables is the Phytophthora, which, according to information from the Pennsylvania State University, has become one of the pests that has spread in an exponential way during the last decade, not only in large-size crops, but also in smaller farms that previously did not present such conditions.

How do you recognize the Phytophthora?

The Phytophthora usually attacks the aerial part of the plant and, occasionally, it can appear on the neck and root side. It can be perceived with some ease since oily-looking spots usually appear in the plant, while the fruits exhibit concentric brown spots in the peduncular area. Also, the area of the neck that is affected, is necrotic on the outside, covering the entire perimeter of the stem and causing a decrease in size. After its appearance and process of affectation, the root is usually completely decomposed.

Although it is something unusual, sometimes the disease occurs in the insertion of two branches causing the sprouts to wither, without any hope for the plant to heal. Besides, this is a fungus that can last seven or more years on the soil.

The characteristic symptoms of Fusarium occur when the fungus invades the vascular system without the need for a wound in the root system. This produces the necrosis of the conductive vessels, which generates a yellow tone of the basal leaves and the progressive decomposition.

Among the crops that are most affected by this disease are:

  • Pumpkin and winter squash
  • Peppers
  • Watermelons


Use of mulching to prevent the Phytophthora

According to a study by the Pennsylvania State University, efforts have been made at the educational level to try to keep Phytophthora at bay and to promote cultural practices focused on reducing the impact of an infection. Fungicides have been proven to be successful, for example, in some fields where peppers are cultivated. However, farmers agree that the use of plastics, especially mulching, is one of the best options to prevent the emergence of these diseases in the cultivation of vegetables.

Although these types of plastics help control the moisture of the crops, which is one of the main causes of these diseases, it does not allow to definitively eliminate the appearance of Phytophthora. However, there are farmers and farm owners who ensure that with the use of mulching the emergence process has become slower, allowing them to obtain commercial crops in good time and improve the quality of the terrain.

During rainy season, the use of plastics is also beneficial to prevent diseases in the foliage of the plants, because it manages to reduce the transfer of soil from the ground to the leaves, while it increases the temperature of the soil, controls the moisture from the plot of land and strengthens the effectiveness of fungicides, which also helps reduce their use in crops to attack diseases.

You may find interesting these other posts related to this topic how to prepare the soil for harvest, advantages of totally impermeable films and the importance of certifications to select an efficient agricultural plastic to disinfect the soil.

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