Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pesky Bugs and Critters

Firstly, we'd like to thank Bhavnaben from Ahmedabad for directing our attention to the plant disease and disorders. 

Every gardener has to deal with common diseases or infestations, and although you can get good info off the net, its not always easy to diagnose the plants and treat them by yourself. So this week, we're going test out some ideas, on various plants. Lets start with tomatoes.

First, prevention is better than cure, so always do a thorough check of your plant and if it is looking unhappy, try to identify what part of the plant is affected:
If you see something odd or abnormal, act fast!!.

IMAGE CREDITS: ohioline.osu.edu

1} Verticillium/Fusarium wilt: this is a fungus disease/infection which is most of the times fatal…watch out for:

   Leaves are suddenly turning yellow, withering, and dropping off
, and even though you are regularly watering, they look like they are water deprived.
   Plant is surviving, but is stunted and yield is reduced
 to almost no tomatoes!
 start to look brown

What you can do: try to buy these fungicides: Trichoderma Vanguard, Phosguard, Captan 50WP, Elevate 50WDG, use them according to instructions on the labels and don’t over water.

Also, plant hybrid, resistant varieties. Do not grow tomatoes in that same soil for 2-3 years. If possible, try to add neem based manure to the potting soil.

Bacterial Spots: This is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas. It looks exactly like Bacterial speck -which is caused by Pseudomonas syringae bacteria. The only difference is speck is curable- and your plant wont die, whereas spot usually kills the plant.

Watch out for:
Small ugly black spots (up to a slightly greasy feel1⁄8 inch across), circular to irregular in shape on fruit, and even on leaves

 Image credit: omfra.gov.on.ca

What you can do:
Do not wet the tomato plant, only water the soil…too much humidity and plants grown too close together encourages this problem

Keep area weed free, and apply mancozeb (available at most agri stores) to soil before planting saplings as a just in case…

If you end up with spot, apply spray of streptocyclin as soon as possible.


Aphids. These little white speck like insects suck sap. They eat the tomato leaves and stems, which weaken plants and allow disease to spread. Control them by applying insecticidal soap or insecticide.

Mealy bugs:

White bugs on stem and leaves of tomato plant, with a waxy coating. Rub the white stuff with cotton dipped in alcohol, and then spray with insecticidal soap or set black ants (makodi) on the plant…they can eat the mealy bugs!

If the infestation is too heavy, you may have to add soap to solution of cloropyriphos or chinni kam and spray…

Image Credit: homelycapers.com


  1. This is not a comprehensive list, its just the most common ones affecting tomatos in my experience.....

  2. Little white bugs, I remove them by hand or harsh spray of water, and quickly spray with neem oil...seems to work!