Cucurbit Family Plant Problems - Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt. Insert: Bacterial ooze.

Bacterial wilt diagnostic Test.

Bacterial wilt of cucumber.

A few leaves wilt and dry and may be chewed. Wilted leaves often recover at night, but they wilt again on sunny days and finally die. Fruit shrivels. Cutting a wilted stem near the base of the plant and squeezing out the sap produces a milky white substance. Touch a knife to the sap and withdraw it slowly. If the plant is infected with bacterial wilt, white ooze will string out in a fine thread.

ANALYSIS: Bacterial wilt
This plant disease is caused by a bacterium (Erwinia tracheiphila) and is more prevalent on cucumbers and muskmelons than on pumpkins and squash. Watermelons are not affected. The bacteria spend the winter in striped or spotted cucumber beetles and are spread to plants when the beetles feed. An entire plant may become infected within 15 days. The disease is most prevalent in cool weather in areas with moderate rainfall.

There are no chemical controls for bacterial wilt. Remove and discard all infected plants promptly. Control cucumber beetles with a chemical containing carbaryl (SEVIN) or diazinon. Repeat the treatment every 7 days if the plants become reinfected. Grow varieties resistant to this disease. There are no resistant muskmelon varieties.

Cucumber variety resistant to bacterial wilt: Saladin.

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Text and images adopted from theOrtho Problem Solver
Last Updated: Fri Sep 06 10:30:00PM CST 1996

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