Infection by Verticillium dahliae on sunflower

Infection by Verticillium dahliae on sunflower

© Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

Type: Diseases

Wilt (Fusarium & Verticillium spp.)

These two fungi both hamper the plant's ability to transport water from roots to leaves by clogging the xylem vessels which transport water or as the plant blocks them itself in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease.


  • Symptoms generally don't appear until later in the growing season as it takes a while for damage to become apparent
  • It begins with isolated patches of leaves which, at least initially, begin to wilt during the day but may recover at night when they need to suck up less water from the roots.
  • However, eventually leaves may yellow and die
  • Potatoes and tomatoes may survive but with reduced yields, peppers and aubergines tend to collapse as rots sets in at the base of the stem.
  • If you cut through the stem above ground level, escpecially near where the leaves join the stem, you may see light or dark brown staining. Similar staining can be seen in potato tubers

  • Prevention & control

    • Modern, resitant varieties are available
    • Strong, healthy crops are more likley to resist infection
    • Good long rotation (up to 6 years) is advisable for susceptible crops
    • Remove and burn affected plants
    • Practice good plot hygiene, removing all traces of previous crops and keeping weeds, which can also host the disease, under control
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