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Pest and Diseases Affecting Tree Tomato

Pest and diseases is one of the Major challenges that face farmers. This results to poor crop yields and the farmer incurs losses, here are some of the pests and diseases that affect tree tomato and how to mitigate them.

Powdery mildew

This is a Fungal disease that grows on the plant and produces spores that appear as white powder on the surface of leaves. If not controlled, the disease can cause defoliation of the whole plant. This disease can be controlled by avoiding overcrowding of plants. Application of a sulphur based fungicide like Thiovit/Thionil at 40g/20L of water with 2 weeks spray interval. Spray benomyl) at 40g/20L can also help.

Wilt

The fungus infects plant through the roots and then travels up the plant stem. Leaves, stems and fruit are all affected by the disease. Affected leaves become yellow gradually. Other disease symptoms include leaf necrosis and wilting and internal brown discoloration of the stem, which help to distinguish it from other causes of yellowing, such as virus, nematodes, root rot.Crop rotation for about 3-4 years is recommended to prevent this disease.

Ascochyta

This disease is characterized by dry circular and concentric rings which are black or dark brown in colour, mainly on older leaves. It can be controlled through Application of a sulphur based fungicide like Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride 40g/20L of water with 2 weeks spray interval.

Pests affecting tree tomato.

Aphids and whiteflies

Different species of aphids attack tamarillo but the green peach aphids (Myzus persicae) are the most important.

Whiteflies secrete honey dew over the leaves and fruit. This can lead to the appearance of sooty mould, which leaves fruit unsalable. They also transmit viral diseases.

However, they can be controlled through the following methods:

A complete crop break will help ensure complete eradication of the pest and prevent carry-over into subsequent crops.

Use pest-free planting material.

  • Keep recently received plants isolated to monitor closely and prevent the spread of any potential infestation.
  • Field sanitation to destroy weeds which may act as refuge and alternative hosts.
  • Where possible, protect seedlings from infection by growing them under mesh screening.

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Written by Kenya Farmers

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