Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 4:33 pm Posts: 526 Location: parker county, texas
If it's a viral disease, nothing will help them, but are you sure it's a disease? Are they all showing the same symptoms? Are you watering too much? Since we've had more rain for the past few weeks than it seems we usually do, what's the possibility of too much water? Are they lacking any nutrients that you are aware of? What's your soil type and what kind of amendments have you added? Do you fertilize? If so, with what? It's really hard to say what the problem is, but if it were me, I would take all these things into consideration. Did the symptoms appear all of a sudden, and are all the plants showing the same symptoms?
While there are many viruses that can harm peppers, the following are the most prevalent in North America.
Tobacco Mosaic Virus--Leaves become yellow and a mosaic pattern can be seen on them. Eventually plants become stunted and fruit discolored. Because TMV can be found in tobacco, refrain from smoking near the plants. Do not handle plants after smoking tobacco. Many pepper varieties have resistance or tolerance to Tobacco Mosaic Virus.
Wilt diseases--These are caused by the fungi Verticilium and Fusarium present in the soil. The initial symptoms are wilting, upward curling of leaves, and yellowing. Eventually the stems and roots of the plant are affected. Verticilium wilt is more common in the western and northern parts of North America. Fusarium wilt is more likely to occur under conditions of wet soil and high temperatures.
Phytophthora root rot is caused by organisms found in heavy, poorly drained soils. These diseases are best prevented by good water management and crop rotation.
Cucumber Mosaic Virus--Plants are severely stunted with light green, leathery foliage. Leaves and fruit may develop yellow spots and rings. This virus is worldwide and can infect many food crops and weeds. Aphids can transmit CMV from weeds to vegetables and back to weeds.
Viruses and wilts are not very common in gardens. But, because of the symptoms you describe, it sounds like that might be your problem. If a pepper plant appears to have the symptoms of a wilt or virus, the only action to take is to remove and destroy the plant.
Just ran across your posts in the forum. Have you tried mixing cornmeal into your planting soil? I have experimented with this for 3 years now and don't get that wilt problem at all. A cup or two for a 5 gallon planter or mixed into your garden at around 5 lbs. per 100 square feet seems to work wonders. Just thought I'd add this for you to try next year. HOpe the peppers turned out well!
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