nt of Dis
Managing diseases is a very important component of production for melons, cucumbers,squashes, pumpkins, and other cucurbit crops. The already extensive list of more than 200cucurbit diseases has expanded recently to include cucurbit yellow vine disease, Acremoniumcollapse, Rhizopycnis root rot, bacterial blight, cucumber root mat,
Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus, Cucurbit leaf crumple virus
, and Cucurbit leaf curl virus. Additionally, diseasesthat have recently increased in importance include the vine declines, bacterial wilt, powderymildew on watermelon, Phytophthora blight, diseases caused by
species, and severaldiseases caused by viruses, including
Melon necrotic spot carmovirus
and several members of the crinivirus genus. Management practices effective for various diseases include rotation, deep plowing, fumigation, solarization, pathogen-free seed, treated seed, host plant resistance,fungicides, sanitation, manipulating the greenhouse environment, improving soil drainage,adjusting soil pH, drip irrigation, plastic mulch or other soil barrier, planting when soil is not toocold, controlling weeds and insects, avoiding moving pathogens on equipment or hands, roguinginfected plants, minimizing injury during harvest, chlorine spray or hot water treatment after harvest, culling symptomatic fruit before storage, and providing proper storage conditionsincluding refrigeration. Forecasting systems have been developed for diseases and insect vectors.Managing some diseases with fungicides has been challenged by development of resistance,which continues to be difficult to predict. Biocompatible materials such as bicarbonates, milk,oil, silicon, phosphate salts, plant extracts, and biological control agents are being developed asalternatives to conventional fungicides predominantly for powdery mildew. Some of theseinduce systemic resistance..Effective management of vegetable diseases requires preventingdisease or, if this is not feasible, slowing the spread of disease once it occurs. Nine proceduresand the current estimated percentage of importance of each toward vegetable disease control,have been recommended for many years: rotating crops (30%), spraying when necessary (20%),treating the seed (15%), using clean seed (10%), planting resistant varieties (5%), controllingweeds (5%), aerating the soil properly (5%), draining and fertilizing the soil (5%), and practicinggood sanitation (5%). It is unlikely that all diseases of a particular crop can be controlled bysimply following these procedures. Nevertheless, the extent of disease and the concomitant costsof controlling them can be significantly reduced by following as many of these procedures as possible. Growers should note that this estimate indicates that spraying is only responsible for 20 percent of disease control. Using the other disease control techniques, which contribute 80 percent of disease control cannot only greatly improve disease control, but also lessen the costsof spray materials and result in better quality crops.The first step in disease management should be accurate diagnosis. It is important to differentiate between infectious diseases (e.g. those caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes that canspread from plant to plant) and noninfectious diseases or disorders (e.g., damage caused by mitesand insects, physiological disorders, air pollutants, nutrient imbalances, and herbicide injury).Growers who have a reasonably good understanding of plant diseases, their symptoms, and theinfectious and noninfectious disorders that can affect a particular crop, are more likely to makethe correct disease control decisions. Numerous fact sheets and bulletins with full-color illustrations have been developed by Cornell faculty to assist growers in making accurate diseasediagnoses.