Downey mildew disease hits muskmelon crop in Punjab

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Ludhiana, Apr 10 (UNI) Downey mildew disease, which is a limiting factor for successful growing of various cucurbit crops, has now affected the muskmelon crop in Punjab.

According to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) plant pathologist Dr Chander Mohan, the disease has attacked almost all the varieties of muskmelon grown in the state and severely affected its yields.

Stating the reason behind the spread of the disease, he said that farmers in the districts of Amritsar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahar cultivated cucumber crop under low plastic tunnels.

The temperature and humidity in plastic tunnels is favourable for the growth of downey mildew pathogen and the disease first appeared in cucumber fields and then spread to the muskmelon fields.

Elaborating the symptoms of the disease, Dr Mohan said initially the disease appears in the form of water-soaked lesions on the under surface of lower leaves. The corresponding area on the upper surface shows yellow lesions. Later, grey coloured fungus growth develops on the underside of these lesions and is visible only during early morning hours as there is high humidity during morning.

These lesions later increase in size and merge with each other giving blighted appearance. As a result the growth of vines is stopped thereby adversely affecting fruit yield and taste.

To control the disease scientists have suggested to spray crop with Indofil M-45 using 300-600 gms fungicide in 100-200 litres of water. Two spray should be done at weekly intervals. Under heavy disease risk situation, two more sprays of Ridomil MZ, 500 gm in 200 litre of water are recommended followed by one last spray of Indofil M-45.

UNI PS SR DS1640

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