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Bacterial Wilt, A Common Plant Disease | North American Farmer

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Bacterial Wilt

by Amna A. Kundi

Bacterial WiltAbout the Disease: Bacterial Wilt is a bacterial disease that mainly affects plants like cucumber, muskmelon and pumpkin plants. Squash can also be seen affected by this bacteria but the squash is less affected by this bacteria. Many of them have the wrong belief that when the muskmelons or cucumbers gets affected by bacteria wilt, watermelon plants will also get affected. But this is not true.

Symptoms: The bacteria get spread from one plant to another, very easily when the beetles which feed on one plant moves onto the other. This could be either a spotted beetle or the striped cucumber beetle. Out of all cucurbits, pumpkins are considered to be most resistant to this bacteria.

But rarely, the bacteria can also attack punkin plants. The bacterial ooze is seen in the lower region of the stem and when you cut the stems into half, you can observe the threadlike strands in between the stem. The first symptom that can be observed in the plants is the wilting of leaves. In some plants, wilting can be a temporary affair but in others, the wilting does not disappear at all. It remains permanently in the plants and affects its growth.

Pathogens: Erwinia tracheiphilais the pathogen that causes the disease.

Time of Occurrence: this mainly occurs at the earlier parts of the growing season.

Conditions Favoring Disease: The major condition that can favor the growth of the bacterial growth is during the earlier period of the plant growth. During this time, the plant size will be relatively very small. The disease can be easily spread by the beetles feeding on the stems and leaves.

Disease Management: Many of the pumpkin plants will naturally be resistant to this disease, thus such plants can be specifically identified and then grown. The chemical methods that can be used to control the disease is by using the insecticides to help in reducing the beetle population. When the growth of these beetles is reduced, you can easily avoid the progression of the bacterial wilt. Another easy method of controlling the disease is to use a special culturing method. When you are planning to grow only pumpkins, then you should not grow the muskmelons along with it.