We, humans, do love a serious kick in our dishes, but a number of microorganisms also love peppers as much as we do. Peppers, just like any other crop are also prone to a number of diseases. Their heat may pack a serious punch, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune to sickness. And it may be annoying for peppers, but it’s more troublesome for farmers when diseases strike their pepper farms. After all, yield loss can also be a kick in the pockets.
So if you’re just newbie in the pepper industry, it’s best to have prior knowledge as to what kinds of diseases you may face in the future. Here are the most common diseases most peppers are quite prone to.
Causal Organism: Laveillula taurica
Symptoms: You can observe a whitish-gray powder growth on the leaf surface, both in the lower and upper sides. Curling and distorted growth is often manifested in young leaves and shoot tips. Meanwhile, the more mature leaves have these white patches which are actually fungal growth on the surface. This will eventually cause the leaves to die.
Causal Organism: Fusarium oxysporum f. pv. lycopersici
Symptoms: A general wilting of young and mature plants often occur, especially when they are water-stressed. The small lateral roots often exhibit unnatural decay once you check them out. And, when you try to cut open a cross-section of an infected pepper stem, you’ll visibly see an orange ring around the vascular bundles. Fusarium wilt is quite common especially in areas that have poor drainage and very heavy clay soils. Moreover, you better watch out because this disease can easily be spread through infected farming and garden tools, as well as debris from the crops.
Causal Organism: Rhizoctonia solini and Pythium species
Symptoms: First off, infected pepper seeds are unable to germinate and become soft and brown. Then the seedlings initially produce dark water-soaked lesions, before dying prematurely. The same thing happens to the roots, while the lower stem becomes thinner and softer compared to the upper parts. This irregular growth and development cause the seedlings to topple over and collapse.
Causal Organism: Pseudomonas solanacearum
Symptoms: This is one of the most problematic pepper diseases, and is nearly impossible to control. You can observe unnatural and premature wilting of leaves and shoot tips. The shoot tips oftentimes become mushy and would normally droop. Another identifying symptom of this disease is the bacterial ooze coming out from cut stems when you immersed them in water.
Causal Organism: Rhizoctonia solani
Symptoms: This disease is quite common when the conditions are wet and cool, mostly during the rainy seasons. Characteristic rotting of the roots and stems of pepper seedlings can be observed. Spots form on the surface of the stems and leaves which are nearest to the ground. In severe cases, water-soaked spots or areas develop on the fruits. The infected fruit tissues collapse with white mycelial growth on the surface of the infected area, which eventually becomes brown.
Causal Organism: Phytophthora capici
Symptoms: This disease has symptoms that are quite similar to damping off. You can see dark green spots on the leaves’ surface which becomes larger and become yellowish. Lesions form on the stems around the base near the soil. This then causes the seedlings and plants to fall down prematurely. Furthermore, infected fruits exhibit dark water-soaked spots which are coated with whitish fungal growth on the surface. The bad part is that the fruit tissues are already in the process of decay even while they are still attached to the stem. And, even the seeds are not safe from this disease as they shrivel up and become dry.
Causal Organism: Gleosporium piperatum
Symptoms: Anthracnose is perhaps the most common postharvest disease of fruits and vegetables which has a very wide host range. And even peppers are not safe from this disease. Anthracnose is a seed-borne disease and thrives in warm to very humid climatic conditions. Dark sunken lesions forms on the stem on the stems which have pinkish spores on its surface. Meanwhile, long, dark reddish lesions form on the leaf veins and petioles. Also, the same lesions may appear on the peppers’ surface after harvest. This disease can also cause premature death and decay of seedlings before emergence from the soil.