Bacterial Spot Disease Intensifying, Spreading Across Florida Peppers, Tomatoes

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Bacterial spot disease has been observed in multiple locations across South Florida. The weather has attributed to the disease increasing and intensifying in some vegetable crops.

Bacterial spot disease
Photo by UF/IFAS: Fruit spots can also be slightly raised and scabby looking. Other diseases including target spot can cause lesions, but tend to be sunken lesions.

According to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline, dense fog and isolated rain events led to disease development. Bacterial spot is moderate to high in tomatoes and peppers across south Florida.

Bacterial spot is one of the most serious diseases of tomato and pepper in Florida. It can spready rapidly during warm periods with wind-driven rains. Disease symptoms reduce marketability.

Growers who are scouting for the disease in their fields should look for symptoms like small, water-soaked, greasy spots on infected leaflets. Distinct spots with or without yellow can occur on tomatoes. Fruit spots often start as dark specks with or without a white halo. The spots become raised and scab-like, as they enlarge.

Exclusion is the best means of managing bacterial spot on tomato. Pepper and tomato volunteers and solanaceous weeds should be destroyed between crops. Producers should only purchase only certified disease-free transplants and seed.

Even the best bactericidal treatment offers only limited protection when environmental conditions are favorable for disease development.

Source: South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline