pests and diseases of cotton

pests and diseases of Cotton and their control methods The following are the diseases and pests of cotton and their control methods

Cotton crops are susceptible to various pests and diseases that can negatively impact yield and quality. Effective pest and disease management is essential for successful cotton farming. Here are some common cotton pests and diseases, along with control methods:

Common Pest And Diseases Of Cotton

  1. Bollworms (Helicoverpa zea and Pectinophora gossypiella):
    • Damage: Bollworm larvae feed on cotton bolls, reducing yield and quality.
    • Control:
      • Plant Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton varieties, which are genetically modified to resist bollworms.
      • Apply chemical insecticides when necessary, following recommended thresholds and integrated pest management (IPM) practices.
      • Practice crop rotation to disrupt the bollworm life cycle.
  2. Aphids:
    • Damage: Aphids feed on cotton plants, causing stunted growth and transmitting plant viruses.
    • Control:
      • Monitor aphid populations regularly.
      • Release natural predators like ladybugs and parasitic wasps.
      • Use insecticidal soaps or neem oil for chemical control.
  1. Whiteflies:
    • Damage: Whiteflies suck plant sap, leading to reduced plant vigour and the transmission of the cotton leaf curl virus.
    • Control:
      • Use reflective mulch to deter whiteflies.
      • Employ insecticidal soap or neem oil when populations are high.
      • Remove and destroy infected plants to reduce virus transmission.
  2. Thrips:
    • Damage: Thrips feed on cotton leaves, causing stippling and reduced photosynthesis.
    • Control:
      • Monitor thrip populations and use traps.
      • Apply foliar insecticides if thresholds are exceeded.
      • Promote beneficial insects like minute pirate bugs and lacewings.

Common diseases

  1. Verticillium Wilt (Verticillium dahliae):
    • Symptoms: Yellowing leaves, wilting, and vascular discolouration.
    • Control:
      • Use resistant cotton varieties.
      • Crop rotation with non-host crops.
      • Fumigate soil before planting.
  2. Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum):
    • Symptoms: Yellowing leaves, wilting, and vascular discolouration.
    • Control:
      • Plant-resistant cotton varieties.
      • Crop rotation with non-host crops.
      • Soil solarization can help reduce pathogen levels.
  3. Cotton Root Rot (Phymatotrichopsis omnivora):
    • Symptoms: Sudden wilting and death of plants.
    • Control:
      • Plant in well-drained soil.
      • Avoid excessive irrigation.
      • Use fungicides, although they may provide limited control.
  4. Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV):
    • Symptoms: Curling, yellowing, and distortion of leaves.
    • Control:
      • Plant virus-resistant cotton varieties.
      • Manage whitefly populations to reduce transmission.
      • Remove and destroy infected plants.
  5. Alternaria Leaf Spot (Alternaria spp.):
    • Symptoms: Circular lesions with a brown centre and yellow halo.
    • Control:
      • Use fungicides if necessary.
      • Practice crop rotation.
      • Promote good air circulation through proper plant spacing.

General Pest and Disease Management Strategies:

  • Implement integrated pest management (IPM) practices, which involve monitoring, using natural enemies, and resorting to chemical control only when necessary.
  • Plant disease-resistant and pest-resistant cotton varieties when available.
  • Practice crop rotation with non-host crops to break pest and disease cycles.
  • Promote beneficial insects and natural predators through habitat management.
  • Use proper sanitation practices, including the removal and destruction of infected or infested plant material.

It’s important to regularly scout your cotton field for signs of pests and diseases, as early detection and intervention can prevent significant damage. Consult with local agricultural extension services or experts for guidance on pest and disease management tailored to your region and specific cotton varieties.

These Pests and diseases of Cotton are not the only ones but they are the ones I can mention here for the sake of this article Cotton stainer (Dysdercus spp): It feeds on the contents of the boll and also transmits bacterial and fungal diseases. They stain the lines.

Control OF cotton stainer :

By handpicking the insects and regular spraying with insecticides. (2) Boll worms: The caterpillars (larvae) eat their way into the boll and spoil the lint. Control: (i) This is done by handpicking. (ii) Destruction of infected plants.   

Diseases of cotton and control methods

Bacteria blight: It is caused by a bacterium. Symptoms include angular spots which appear on the leaves and branches How to Control Bacteria Blight of cotton: It is used by dressing Destroy and burning infected plants Grow resistant varieties Leaf curl: It is caused by a virus transmitted by an insect. Affected leaves become twisted, mottled, vein clearing and curl at the margin.

How to Control Leaf curl of cotton:

Plant-resistant varieties Destroy infected plants by burning Damping off: It is caused by a fungus which is spread through the soil. Cells of seedlings become waterlogged, resulting in the death of the plants.

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Bacteria blight: It is caused by a bacterium. Symptoms include angular spots which appear on the leaves and branches

How to Control Bacteria Blight of cotton: It is used by dressing Destroy and burning infected plants

Grow resistant varieties Leaf curl: It is caused by a virus transmitted by an insect. Affected leaves become twisted, mottled, vein clearing and curl at the margin.

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