When dark lesions appear on the stems of seedlings, at or near the soil line, it may be an early symptom of the fungal disease phomopsis blight. Eggplant is particularly susceptible. The lesions can encircle the stems, resulting in girdling and death of seedlings. Oval brown spots also can appear on the older leaves; infected leaves turn yellow and drop off. More serious damage occurs on developing fruits, where the first symptom is pale round spots. These spots enlarge and turn brown, and fruits rot or shrivel on the plant.
Phomopsis spores are spread by rain and water. Infection rates are high during periods of warm, wet weather.
Prevention and Control
- Plant disease-free seedlings.
- Choose eggplant varieties, such as Florida Market, that are resistant to phomopsis at the seedling stage, if such varieties will grow well in your region.
- In the fall, remove all eggplant crop debris from the garden.
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