Septoria Leaf Spot

Septoria on parsley leaf    Photo Courtesy of Margaret Tuttle McGrath, Cornell University

Leaves with gray-brown areas surrounded by a dark or yellowish margin are one of the early symptoms of this fungal disease. These discolored areas lack the concentric rings characteristic of early blight, but they may be filled with many small, black spores. Symptoms generally appear on lower leaves first. The fungus can infect a wide variety of plants. In a severe outbreak, septoria leaf spot fungi may also attack seedlings.

The disease is most problematic in cool, wet weather. The fungus overwinters on plant debris in the soil and on weeds such as jimsonweed, horsenettle and nightshade.

Prevention and Control

  • Plant disease-free seed.
  • Rotate crops to avoid growing susceptible plants in the same area year after year.
  • Pick off and destroy any infected leaves.
  • Mulch around the plants to reduce soil splashing, which can spread the disease.
  • Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses rather than overhead watering.
  • In the fall, remove any diseased plant material and destroy it.

Last updated: 12/14/2022