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Diseases of Greenhouse Ornamental Crops

Aerial Blight (Phytophthora parasitica ) Most susceptible plants: vinca.

This fungal pathogen causes a major disease in vinca in the landscape but it can also be a serious disease of greenhouse -grown vinca.
Symptoms. Initial symptoms of infection occur on leaves. Leaf infection is characterized by a rapid collapse of the leaf. Infection progresses to the leaf petiole and to the location of the attachment of the petiole to the plant stem. A brown, sunken stem lesion develops at the point where the petiole attaches to the stem. This brown stem lesion develops on the stem causing stem collapse. If wet conditions persist following plant infection, the fungus will grow to the base of the plant resulting in plant de ath. A unique feature of Phytophthora aerial blight is its decided aerial nature; this fungus rarely causes a primary root rot but causes massive damage to the aerial portion of the plant. Control. Control of this disease has been very difficult and has p roven impossible in many situations. Most effective control in the greenhouse will require that the plants are grown on benches, as far above soil as feasible. Remove symptomatic plants as soon as they become obvious on the greenhouse bench. Although folia r-fungicides have not been totally satisfactory, and have failed totally in the landscape for control of this disease, application may be useful in greenhouse situations if applied at the first sign of disease. Bacterial Blight (Xanthomonas campestris) Most susceptible plants: begonia, geranium, zinnia.

This disease can be devastating, causing loss of an entire crop. The pathogen is systemic so watch for symptoms and take immediate action upon detection.
Symptoms. Leaf spots begin as water-soaked blotches on leaves, frequently with large areas of chlorosis and browning at the leaf margins. An inverted "V" pattern commonly develops soon after initial symptoms occur; the "V"-shaped lesion usually turns a copper color as the infection proceeds. Leaf collapse is common as is the development of a soft, watery deterioration of the plant stem. Plant wilt and decline follows. Control. The most important management strategy for this disease is to avoid introducing the patho gen into the greenhouse. Use disease -free, culture-indexed cuttings. Know the typical symptom to look for. There is no effective chemical control. Aggressive roguing of infected or symptomatic plants is important. Keep foliage dry; avoid overhead wetting/i rrigation.

Take care to avoid wounding the plant stem during transplanting or when spacing/moving pots. Chemical controls have not proven effective. Symptoms.Bacterial Stem Rot (Erwinia carotovora pv carotovora) Most susceptible plants: kalanchoe. Yellowing of the younger growth is a common symptom. Stress has been shown to greatly enhance black root rot. all plugs should be planted as soon as possible after arrival. lower stem breakage.8 can reduce black root rot development. white color. plants usually develop symptoms indicative of nutritional stress. white roots. Spot-check all plugs introduced into the growing area by carefully examining roots for healthy. Black Root Rot (Thielaviopsis basicola) Most susceptible plants: pansy. gray or black. The soil-line lesion is usually very soft and mushy in texture. Symptoms. a pH range of 5. The black root rot fungus damages the root of the plant. soil -line lesion that usually results in stem weakening. Infected plants develop a black. effectively interfering with the root's ability to absorb nutrients. Black root rot can cause significant production losses in greenhouse crops. Use preventatively or at the first sign of infection for effective control. Pay strict attention to sanitation. plant wilt and pla nt death. Adverse temperatures. An acidic pH helps to manage black root rot. infected roots are usually off -white. Control of black root rot can be difficult if the pathogen becomes established within the growing area. Pansy and vinca plu g infection has resulted in significant plant losses. plant stunting. excessive levels of soluble salts and excessive use of fungicides or other plant production chemicals have all been implicated in intensification of black root rot. Although this fungal pathogen also has a very wide host range. Root examination of infected plants usually reveals a lack of healthy. . As a result of root injury. Control. Several fungicides have proven effective. vinca. Because plugs are vulnerable to a number of stresses. Control. excessive moisture in the root zone. Store media in a location that is protected from contamination. the most serious problems occurr on pansy and vinca. depending on the stage and severity o f infection. Do not reuse plug trays or plastic pots.5-5.

Botrytis Blight (Botrytis cinerea) Most susceptible plants: exacum. impatiens. especially if plants are not grown on benches. Botrytis can infect any above-ground portion of the plant. The foliage develops an obvious off-color. pansy This disease is second only to Impatiens Necrotic Spot virus as a serious pathogen in gloxinia. The pattern in the flat or on the greenhouse bench is usually random but can be extensive. Botrytis cinerea. when temperatures are cool and where free moisture occurs on plant parts. Control: y y y y y y y Avoid injury or stress to plants. Root and crown rot can also cause serious losses in gerbera daisy production. Symptoms. Diagnosis is usually straightforward and is characterized by the obvious gray-to-brown fuzzy growth on infected plant tissue. Fungicide application may be effective if started early and if fungicides are rotated. Phytophthora root and crown rot more commonly results in a rapid plant wilt. Overhead watering readily splashes the pathogen from plant -to-plant. This disease is much more common when relative humidity is high. Wounded or stressed tissues are much more susceptible to infection. Examination of the symptomatic .) Most susceptible plants: gerbera daisy. Thorough greenhouse sanitation is MANDATORY! Remove infected plant material and plant debris. Botrytis can cause serious problems in geranium both as a flower blight as well as a stem/cutting rot. Probably the most common and troubling greenhouse pathogen is the gray mold fungus. as the petiole collapses. when air stagnation is present. involving a large number of plants. Space plants so as to encourage air movement around individual plants. Petioles may become infected where they attach in the crown area. Infection can occur at any stage of gerbera production but seems to be more common after flowering begins. Use night heat plus ventilation at night to lower relative humidity within the greenhouse. Encourage good air circulation and air movement within the greenhouse. As the disease progresses. the attached leaf dies also. gloxinia. the entire plant wilts and dies. Crown and Root Rot (Phytophthora spp. Keep temperatures above 60 C if possible. in which the plants appear normal and healthy one day but develop symptoms of rapid wilt and decline. Plants fail to grow adequately and usually remain noticeably stunted. geranium. Symptoms.

Avoid growing plants on the ground or on mesh on the ground. Symptoms. Remove inf ected plants as soon as symptoms develop. Control. avoid overwatering. plant wilt and plant death.) Most susceptible plants: exacum Infection by this fungal pathogen can cause rapid wilt and plant decline. Eventually. Small. Typical symptoms develop as off-color foliage initially. reddish round balls.sp. The corm usually remains firm. . This disease can easily be confused with Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus and Botrytis stem infection. Make sure that transplants are not planted too deeply: at the approximate same depth as the original plug not below the crown area. Control. Examination of the lower stem commonly shows a whitish fungal growth in association with an obvious lower stem rot. collapse of the leaf petiole. Infection is usually characterized by chlorosis of the leaf tissue. wilt and die. the entire plant may yellow. Fungicides have not proven effective. This disease is best controlled by strict sanitation. Remove infected plants as soon as symptoms are observed. with a progressive desiccation and wilt of branch sections or commonly. Irrigate carefully. The most distinguishing diagnostic feature of infection is the obvious brown -black discoloration of the internal tissue of the corm that can be seen if an infected corm is split lengthwise. Symptoms. Fusarium Stem and Root Rot (Fusarium solani/Nectria spp.plant will usually reveal a very wet root ball with significant root and crown discoloration and deteriorat ion. Control. one side of the plant. Lower leaves usually wilt and yellow first. which represent the Nectria stage (the sexual stage) of the fungus are commonly observed. with symptoms becoming obvious in older plants following an environmental trigger such as hot greenhouse temperatures. Avoid compaction of the rooting medium. Preventative drench-applied fungicides have shown good control of this dis ease. cyclaminis) Most susceptible plants: cyclamen Infection can occur at the seedling stage. Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. Drench -applied fungicides can be effective in managing this disease but should not be relied on to overcome poor cultural conditions. followed by the rest of the foliage.

It is the number one disease of gloxinia and impatiens. Monitor thrips activity routinely throughout the production area by the use of yellow or blue "sticky cards. INSV is transmitted by the thrips insect. each powdery mildew pathogen is specific to its host. Powdery mildew is the most common disease of gerbera. zinnia Although most greenhouse crops can be infected by powdery mildew pathogens. Although the plants are systemically infected. stem lesions (chrysanthemum. chlorotic rin gspots (exacum. INSV can "compartmentalize" within its host. distortion of young growth. exacum). vinca. causing symptoms to occur only in a portion of the plant. both inside and outside the greenhouse. Symptoms. it is not known to be routinely transmitted by any other means . exacum. The powdery mildew that infects gerbera daisy will not infect zinnia. Control thrips activity by appropriate management strategies. One of the most frustrating features of INSV is that infection can result in a number of different symptoms. These symptoms can vary with the stage of growth of the host and with a varie ty of cultural conditions. Conditions that favor the development of powdery mildew diseases are moderate temperatures with high humidity." Destroy all weeds. gloxinia. gloxinia. Control.Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) Most susceptible plants: begonia. Infection may start on the lower foliage and escape early detection if plants are not periodically monitored for this disease. Symptoms of INSV infection may include black ring spots (impatiens). Powdery mildew pathogens are readily disseminated in the air by air currents. INSV has a very large host range. Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe cichoraceaum) Most susceptible plants: begonia. stunting and plant wilt. cineraria). cyclamen). including insecticides when needed. etc. numbering more than 648 different plant species. veinal necrosis (gloxinia. vinca This is one of the most serious diseases of green house crops. kalanchoe. chrysanthemum. Powdery mildew diseases are very common to a number of greenhouse crops and are easy to diagnose by the development of an obvious . as weeds can serve as both a reservoir of the INSV virus as well as a habitat for the thrips vector. impatiens). Plants infected with INSV are systemically infected for the life of the plant. impatiens. chrysanthemum. black foliar lesions (impatiens. INSV plants must be rapidly and thoroughly rogued from the production area to reduce infection to other susceptible plants. gerbera daisy. Symptoms. Some powdery mildew pathogens are enhanced by fluctuations between warm and coo l temperatures but a relative humidity of 85% is generally needed for disease to develop. Aphelandra.

stem collapse and plant death commonly result. Drench -applied fungicides can be effective in controlling this disease problem.white powder on the plan t surface. Take special care during transplanting to avoid excessive planting depth and wounding of stem and root tissue. starting at the soil line. An atypical brownish scab-like symptom also may occur.) Most susceptible plants: geranium Symptoms. Infected stem tissue softens and deteriorates. avoid overwatering. Control. Avoid excessive soil compaction during the transplant operation. damaging the plant's vascular tissue and interfering with movement of moisture to the leaves and other above-ground tissue. Water carefully. Fungicides can be effective in managing powdery mildew diseases but take care to initiate applications at the first sign of infection and to rotate among effective fungicides. Control. . Pythium Black Leg (Pythium spp. Include a systemic fungicide in the spray rotation. Pythium black leg develops as a distinctive blackened deterioration of the lower stem. Plant wilt.