Powdery Mildew is one of the most notorious diseases in all of plant kingdom and our beloved Pepper one of its most common targets! So, for reasons quite obvious, this deteriorating condition remains a source of major worry to every one who loves growing pepper. Let’s take a quick look at the nature and symptoms of powdery mildew and the ways to tackle this problem.
Powdery mildew of pepper plants is caused by the fungus Leveillula taurica. Powdery mildew fungi are all host specific which means that the fungus that causes the disease in peppers won’t affect any other plants. The mildews don’t attack the internal tissue but produce fungal threads on the surface of pepper plants. They usually overwinter in debris or soil around the plants and spread in spring via insects, wind or splashed water. Powdery mildew is most prevalent in regions that experience rapid humidity fluctuations and have a hot, dry climate. The spread of infection causes defoliation which can result in heavy losses.
The most obvious symptom of powdery mildew is the appearance of white, powdery growth under the leaves of pepper plants. Older, lower leaves are the first to be affected by the infection. As the disease spreads, yellow blotches appear on the upper surface of pepper leaves.
Early detection is your best bet for protecting your plants. Make sure you monitor the plants on a regularly. Simple measures like controlling weed growth and providing adequate spacing at the time of planting peppers go a long way in keeping the plants safe from infections. Powdery mildew is known to relish high levels of nitrogen. It’s therefore important to avoid using nitrogen rich fertilizers. Chemical fungicides are quite effective in tackling the infection and should be used without delay.