Anthracnose Disease: Understanding and Managing Anthracnose Disease in Fruit Farming

 One of the major challenges affecting fruit production in Kenya is pests and diseases. There are a number of common pests and diseases that affect fruit production among them being anthracnose.

A watermelon fruit attacked by anthracnose

Anthracnose is a fungal infection that affects a wide range of plants, particularly fruit crops. It attacks the leaves, flowers, fruits and stem tissues. Anthracnose can lead to significant yield losses and quality degradation in fruit farming. In this article, we will delve in to the causes, symptoms, and management strategies for anthracnose in fruit farming.

Anthracnose is primarily caused by several species of fungi, with Colletotrichum being the most common genus. These fungi thrive in warm, humid conditions, making tropical regions particularly susceptible.

How do you know that your plants have been affected by anthracnose?

Symptoms of anthracnose vary depending on the host plant and the stage of infection. However,

v Your plants will show symptoms of tan, brown or black blotched areas on leaves.


sunken lesions on pawpaw fruit

Your plants will have dark sunken lesions on leaves or fruits. These lesions expand and cause fruit rot.

v You will see distortion and curling of leaves on your plants.

v Your plants twigs and shoots will have dieback from the tips

v Your plant will start to wilt and may eventually die because the tissues will be dried up.

Impact of anthracnose on fruit farming.

The impact of anthracnose on fruit farming can be devastating. It affects both the quantity and quality of fruits. First, it leads to yield losses. Anthracnose causes lesions and rot on the fruits making them unfit for sale or consumption. This directly affects the yield and marketability as the affected fruits need to be discarded.

Management strategies

Effective management of anthracnose involves a combination of cultural practices, chemical treatments and biological measures.

1.    Cultural practices

Selectively remove and destroy infected plant branches, twigs or fruits to reduce the source of fungal spores. Apart from removing infected parts of the plant, it is also advisable to prune regularly to improve on air circulation and humidity which might highly attract fungus.

Another cultural practice that is important and we shouldn’t often overlook is crop rotation. If anthracnose is in the soil already, it will just give you a tough cause if you plant the same crop repeatedly. Rotate with non-host crops to break the disease cycle.

2.    Chemical treatments

Anthracnose is a fungal infection and therefore managing it chemically entails applying fungicides at critical times, such as before the onset of the wet weather and during periods of high humidity. Common fungicides include copper-based products, mancozeb, and systemic fungicides like azoxystrobin. You can also use the likes of Daconil, Ransom 600WP, Domain 250EC, Ducasse 250EC, and Chariot 500SC that are readily available in agrovets.

3.    Biological control

Controlling anthracnose biologically involves use of beneficial microorganisms to suppress the growth of anthracnose causing fungi and planting disease resistant cultivars.

Anthracnose disease poses a really big threat to farmers, especially fruit farmers but with an integrated approach, it can be effectively managed before it leaves you counting mega losses.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Excellent brief. Details of biological control not delve into.