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How to control various soil diseases in our farms

Fighting soil diseases in our shamba can be a nightmare at times. With our tips, you can learn how to detect problems early and keep them out of your shamba.

Just like any other living organism, soil is susceptible to viruses, harmful fungi and bad bacteria, particularly when its out of balance. If in any case the soil in your farm is infected by the diseases below, your entire crops might be affected and it might also be very hard to fight them. The most important thing in keeping your soil and crops healthy is through protection and prevention. You can also use the tips below to detect and prevent diseases even if your farm doesn’t have them currently.

Soil diseases: Damping-Off

Soil diseases
Plants affected by Damping off soil disease











Its a fungus disease that mostly affects spinach, beets, low-growing seedlings, , chard, and lettuce. Damping-off typically attacks young plants, but can also affect germinating seeds, preventing germination from happening at all.

To prevent it, try Growing in high-quality soil with good drainage as it is one of the best way to prevent damping-off. As for seedlings, thin young plants to create better airflow, and don’t over water. Consider planting into sterilized soil or companion planting with garlic and chamomile, which have been known to help reduce the fungus. Once you have damping-off, lighten up on watering, preferably using a mister. Thin young plants and move them to a warmer area to encourage more rapid seed growth.

Read: Improving banana farming in Kenya through Value Addition

Soil Diseases: Verticillium Wilt

It’s a type of fungus. Crops affected include strawberries, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. Symptoms include leaves wilting and dying, typically from the soil upward.

To prevent it you can purchase wilt-resistant seeds, but also check any plants you buy for wilt, and never transplant a wilting plant into your garden. Verticillium wilt is very difficult to get rid of, though healthy, well drained soil will help. Soil polarization has been shown to reduce occurrences.

Soil Diseases: Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is caused by fungus. Affected crops include squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits; basil; grapes. Its symptoms may include; tiny yellow spots appear on leaves in early to late summer, killing the leaf canopy and making the fruit vulnerable to sun scorch.

How to Prevent It: Buy seeds resistant to downy mildew, and if irrigating, irrigate from below to keep the leaves as dry as possible. Rotate crop families every season, and cover the transplanted crops with row cover if you’ve experienced downy mildew in the past. There has been some success ridding downy mildew with bio-fungicides. We recommend farmers to dilute solution of copper spray to reduce the spread of the disease.

Soil Diseases: Powdery Mildew

Its caused by fungus. Crops Affected may include, squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits; roses; grapes.

Symptoms: Yellowish spots appear on the top of leaves and purple spots appear below, most commonly in warm, wet weather.

To prevent it, as with downy mildew, buy resistant seeds and irrigate from below to prevent creating a culture where powdery mildew can thrive. Row cover can help prevent bugs from transferring disease from plant to plant. Rotate crops each season.

This disease spreads easily among plants, so consider tearing out any affected plants and throwing them away. (Do not compost to avoid risk of spreading the disease.) Early applications of milk spray has also been shown to help prevent powdery mildew.

Soil Diseases: Bacterial Wilt

Its caused by a bacteria. The Crops Affected may include passion fruits, cucurbits, especially muskmelons and cucumbers. Symptoms include leaves wilting on the stems.To prevent it you can grow cultivars that are resistant to this wilt, but the best prevention is using row cover to keep cucumber beetles and other bugs from transmitting the disease.

There is no easy way to get rid of bacterial wilt. If you see the infection, remove the plants from your garden, especially passion fruits.

Soil Diseases: Foliar Nematodes

Affected Crops may include strawberries; ornamental crops, including asters, primrose, violets, ferns and dahlias. Symptoms might include yellow patches appear on leaves and may turn brown or black. Shoots may also become stunted and produce deformed flowers.To prevent it, Plant resistant cultivars, and always plant in well-drained soil with good air circulation. Clean up plant debris every season. Irrigate from beneath the plant if possible. How to Get Rid Of It: Destroy any affected parts of the plant. Thin plants if possible for better air circulation.

Read: 8 types of agribusiness ideas to think about in 2018

Soil Diseases: Root Knot Nematodes

soil deseases
Carrot affected by Rot Knot Nematodes












It’s a nematode disease which affects thousands of crops , including corn, tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes. Its symptoms include wilting or yellowing plants; stunted fruits and flowers. To prevent root Knot nematodes plant resistant varieties when available. Marigolds, used as a cover crop and tilled into the soil at the end of the season, have been shown to help prevent the disease. Healthy soil full of organic matter will likewise help crowd out the nematodes.

Neem oil has been shown to help rid a garden of nematodes, though they are difficult to eradicate in the current season. Add compost and organic matter to soil at the end of the season to improve soil quality for the next year.

Soil Diseases: Bacterial Soft Rot

Its caused by bacteria. The affected crops include corn, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, carrots, sweet potatoes and onions. Bacterial soft rot primarily attacks tubers, rhizomes, bulbs and corms, creating black spots, yellow spots, a rancid odor and rot. It can also affect already harvested crops, including potatoes and carrots. To prevent it, plant in well-drained soils with good circulation. Keep areas around the garden, storage houses and greenhouse free of plant debris. There are no known remedies to get rid of it. Dispose of affected plants, and do not bury or compost.

Read: Reasons Why You Should Start an Agribusiness in Kenya Today

Soil diseases: Mosaic Virus

Its kind of a virus that affects potatoes, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers. This disease can affect both the leaves and fruit, appearing often as leaves with mottled yellow patches or stunted growth of the fruit with both green and yellow spots. To prevent it find mosaic-virus-resistant seeds, and shielding the plants with row cover helps prevent bugs from bringing the disease. In addition, always rotate crops. For you to get rid of it, tear up the plants and throw them away. Mosaic virus is highly contagious and can destroy a crop and spread to others.

Read: How Many Years Will It Take To Get Returns On Invested Capital Under Hass Avocado Farming

Soil Diseases: Scab

Its type of a fungus that affects mostly tuber crops such as such as potatoes, beets and radishes. This disease doesn’t usually affect the yield of a crop, but can blemish crops with small, rough, corky spots making them unsuitable for sale. To prevent it, lowering the soil pH to below 5.2 can help reduce the chances of scab. Purchase disease-free seed when available.

Because scab is generally discovered upon harvest, it’s hard to detect. Keep soil evenly moist and rotate crops every season to avoid the fungus.

Thank you for finding time to read this article. For more information about farming and how to control pests and diseases kindly contact us.


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Pests and Diseases Control in Capsicum Farming

Capsicum is a plant that occupies an important place amongthe worldwide vegetable. In pepper culture technology, applying phytosanitary treatments is a technological link. It is very important to know the diseases and pests that attack this plant, and to apply the necessary plant protection products correctly and efficiently.



Dwarfing and narrowing of leaves in the pepper bush produced by the pathogen. The young plants that get attacked have a much smaller size, reaching only 50% of the height of a healthy plant. The internodes and branches of the plant are short, which results in a clumped appearance. The leaves are small, with a mosaic-shaped deformed limb (having healthy green tissue alternating with dark green or yellow tissue). On the attacked strains, sometimes grey or brown spots may be observed. The attacked fruits are small and deformed as well. The virus has a large circle of hosts, annual and perennial species, which are reservoirs of infection. Examples of hosts are: Shepherd’s Purse, Common Chickenweed, White dead-nettle, etc. The disease is transmitted by several species of aphids (plant lice) as well.

Prevention and control measures:

  • seedlings will be produced in areas where no other solanacées (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.) are grown;
  • destroying the host plants (weeds) in the crop and around the plot;
  • the pepper culture will be isolated from other crops of solanacées (tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, etc.);
  • periodic insecticide treatments will be carried out to control insect pests;
  • eliminating attacked plants from the crop;
  • cultivation of resistant varieties;

Read: apple farming in Kenya: mitigating risks


It is produced by Tomato spotted wilt virus in pepper. This disease is manifested by the appearance of mosaic spots on the growth tips of the plants. Later on, the disease develops, and circular spots of brown, yellow or dark green appear on the plant. They evolve and cause necrosis of the attacked tissue. The attacked plants are smaller than the healthy ones and produce a smaller amount of fruit. The virus has a large circle of hosts, annual and perennial species, which creates reservoirs of infection throughout the year. The transmission of the disease is mainly caused by trips.

Prevention and control measures:

  • eliminating attacked plants from the culture;
  • destroying the host plants (weeds) in the crop and around the plot;
  • the pepper culture will be isolated from other crops of solanacées (tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, etc.);
  • periodic insecticide treatments will be carried out to control insect pests;
  • cultivation of resistant varieties;


The disease is common to all plants in the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants) and it is produced by a mycoplasma. This disease occurs throughout Europe, but the worst damage is reported in the eastern part of the continent. The leaves appear to be discoloured, the plant stagnates in growth, the flowers remain sterile or form small and deformed fruits. In severe cases, the disease causes a verticillium-like disorder, but in this case the conductive vessels are not turning brown. The source of infection is represented by the host plants (field bindweed, dodder, orache) or diseased plants (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes) and is transmitted to healthy plants by several cicada species (insects).

Prevention and control measures:

  • destruction of host and segmented plants;
  • combating the insects that carry mycoplasmosis;
  • eliminating attacked plants from culture;
  • cultivation of resistant varieties;


It is produced by Xanthomonas campestris bacteria, which often  attacks tomato crops as well. In a slight attack, the bacteria can cause the appearance of necrotic spots on the leaves, and a severe attack may cause the appearance of these spots on all the aerial organs of the plant. In sensitive varieties, stains are numerous, as they merge and produce defoliation of the plant. On the strains, the disease produces elongated cracks, which are browning. The attacked fruits have circular, wet, brown and harsh spots. Symptoms are evident in wet weather, when bacterial exudate flows from the wounds. This (the exudate) is installed on the seeds, in the soil and on the vegetal remains, ensuring the transmission of the bacteriosis.

Prevention and control measures:

  • the use of healthy seeds from certified sources;
  • cultivation of resistant varieties;
  • pepper culture should not be grown on land where tomatoes, aubergines, peppers or potatoes were planted;
  • chemical treatments with fungicides based on copper should be applied: Zeama bordeleza, Champ 77 WG, Copernico Hi Bio, Melody Compact 49 WG, Funguran OH 50 WP; Warning! Two consecutive treatments with the same product should not be applied.

Read: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop


It is caused by Botrytis cinerea. The attack usually occurs in greenhouses and solariums, and in years with abundant rainfall, it can appear in the field. The most common symptom is sudden wasting of succulent tissues, such as young stalks and leaves. On the fruit, the attack occurs in the form of brown, damp spots, and in high humidity conditions, on the surface of the stains a greyish fuz appears.

Prevention and control measures:

  • chemical or thermal disinfection of the soil;
  • rational fertilization;
  • avoiding irrigation by sprinkling,
  • chemical treatments with Bravo 500 SC, Ortiva 250 SC, Rovral 500 SC, Teldor 500 SC, Switch 62.5 WG;


Produced by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The occurrence of the disease is favoured by temperatures above 27-28ºC, high moisture in the soil and a slightly acidic pH. On the attacked plants, a leaf discoloration appears, followed by wilting. At first the plants suffer from temporary wilting, but in the end, the process is irreversible. On the fruit, moist spots of brown-grey appear. Fusarium is a vascular disease, the sections performed in the stems of the plant reveal an intense browning of the conducting vessels. The fungus lives in the soil, being widespread by water or agricultural tools and agricultural machinery. The fungus gets inside the plant through the root system, and in favourable conditions, it dries the plant in two weeks. The fungus also spreads through infected seeds.

Prevention and control measures:

  • chemical or thermal disinfection of soil in greenhouses, solariums, seedlings and seed treatment before sowing. For information on seed and soil disinfection click here;
  • avoiding relative humidity increase over 85% in greenhouses and solariums and avoiding soils where water stagnates;
  • use of varieties and hybrids resistant to fusarium;
  • seed treatment prior to sowing;
  • chemical treatments with Topsin 70 WDG and Topsin 500 SC. Prepare a solution of 0.05 – 0.1% (5 or 10 g per 10 litres of water) and spray each plant with 0.5 l (of the solution);


It is  produced by Phythophtora infestans. Attack is common on leaves, fruits and seeds, rarely on stems and roots. On the upper side of the leaves, watery spots appear, which later become brownish. On the underside of the leaves, near the spots, a whitish puff appears. The affected tissues become brown and dry. The fruits appear brown, damp and soft. The seeds of the affected fruit contain the infectious mycelium of the fungus. When the disease attacks the strain, an annular, dark-green, then brown area appears at its base. After these symptoms occur, the wilt and drying of the plant takes place.

Prevention and control measures:

  • soil disinfection and seed treatment before sowing. For information on seed and soil disinfection click here;
  • rotation of crops (pepper is not cultivated after tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, etc.);
  • avoid sprinkler irrigation;
  • avoiding soils where water stagnates;
  • chemical treatments with Bravo 500 SC, Acrobat MZ 90-600 WP, Ridomil Gold MZ 68, Equation PRO, Dithane M 45;

Read: Cabbage Farming in Kenya: New better varieties



The pest grows in greenhouse conditions throughout the year and in the field only during the summer. In the greenhouse, it can develop 3-6 generations when conditions are favourable. Adults and larvae colonize the leaves, often also the sprouts. After the attack, the leaves get etiolated, dry and fall off.

Control measures:

  • destruction of vegetal remains after the dissolution of the crop;
  • the disinfection of greenhouses and solariums before the establishment of a new crop;
  • treatments with Decis Mega 50 EC (0.25 l / ha), Actara 25 WG (0.2 kg / ha), Confidor Energy (1.3 l / ha), Mospilan 20 SG (1.5 g / 6 l water), Movento 100 SC;
  • the use of attractant traps;


It can develop 6-10 generations per year and it winters in the adult stage, especially as a female (males are generally less rare), under the scuffed bark of trees, under the fallen leaves, on dry weeds or in the superficial soil layer, etc. The attacked leaves dry up and fall, defoliations being recorded, which can sometimes contain 80-100% of the leaf count. As a result of the attack, there is a halt in the growth of the sprouts and a premature ripening of the fruits.

Control measures:

  • treatments with Vertimec (1 l / ha), Nissorun 10 WP (5 g / 12 l water), Envidor 240 SC, Millbeknock EC;


They are polyphagous species that migrate from one plant to another or from one species to another. They grow on any kind of plant or tree, and then migrate and attack crops. They appear as a colony on the underside of the leaves, on the flowers or inflorescences and on young sprouts. Insects prick the plant and suck the cell juice, causing a stress on the plant. In the event of a severe attack, aphids can cause the death to of the plant.

Control measures:

  • treatments with Decis Mega 50 EC (0.2 l / ha), Confidor Energy (0.6 l / ha), Mospilan 20 SG (1.5 g / 12 l water), Actara 25 WG;
  • the use of attractant traps;


It is a polyphagous species, commonly found in  protected areas (greenhouses and solariums). It attacks the lower part of the leaves, floral blooms and fruits. The attacked organs turn yellow and deform.

Control measures:

  • treatments with Nissorun 10 WP (5 g / 12 l water), Vertimec 1.8 EC (10 m / 10 l water), Envidor 240 SC;


These are small insects, hardly visible to the naked eye, attacking a large number of crop plants. They colonize the tops, flowers, and leaves of the plant, causing flower abortions and plant dwarfism. They also transmit a series of viruses.

Control measures:

  • treatments with Actara 25 WG, Mavrik 2 F, Karate Zeon 50 CS, Decis Mega 50 EW;
  • the use of attractant traps;


It  has several generations per year. Immediately after hatching, the larvae flow through the soil in search of roots. They enter easily into the radicular system, where they secrete a toxin that causes hypertrophy of the tissues, blocking the conductive vessels of the affected areas.

Control measures:

  • Disinfection of soil with Force 1.5 G (15 kg / ha) or Basamid Granules;
  • use of certified seeds;
  • cultivation of resistant varieties;


It has an omnivorous diet, feds with vegetal substrates, live prey (earthworms and various larvae) or insect corpses. The damages produced are direct, by eating the root system of the plants (cutting off the strains of the plant when it is rising or it is replanted). They bring up to the surface of the soil the germinated seeds of plants, or even young, small plants. The attacked ones wither and bend over to the ground.

Control measures:

  • chemical treatments applied to the soil