Vegetable Growers' Handbook Chapter VII: Disease Management

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Diseases can occur at any stage during the course of plant growth. The rapid, accurate diagnosis of the cause of a disease, along with the implementation of a rapid treatment, is essential to ensure the protection of the crop. Certain infectious diseases caused by living, microscopic organisms have the potential to rapidly ruin a crop. However, for any particular vegetable, these diseases are not that numerous and, so, it would not be difficult for a grower to become familiar with them and take proper preventative action. Diseases caused by nonliving things (i.e. not infectious) can be much more difficult to diagnose. Usually, it is easier to rule out an infectious agent as the cause of a disease before investigating possible nonliving (abiotic) causes. This stresses the need for the grower to become familiar with the more common infectious diseases that can occur on the crop. This chapter provides an overview of the science of diagnosis and treatment of vegetable diseases. The grower is advised to consult other references listed at the end of the chapter for more detailed information related to a particular crop.

Thomas Isakeit
George Philley
Texas AgriLife Extension Service