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How to Identify and manage Papaya diseases


English: Pawpaw; Swahili: papaya. Pawpaw is a widely cultivated fruit tree in the tropics and subtropics. General Benefits of Pawpaw Ripe papaya is a favorite breakfast and dessert fruit that is available year-round.

It can be used to make fruit salads, refreshing drinks, jam, jelly, marmalade, candies and crystallized fruits. Green fruits are pickled or cooked as a vegetable.

Requirements for papaya growing

  • Papaya is a tropical plant that grows best in warmer climates.
  • They perform best on deep, well drained soils with high organic matter.
  • Most soil types are suitable but avoid heavy clay soils.
  • Good drainage is very important for papaya production to minimize loss of trees to root rots and water-logging.
  • The trees should be planted between 2m apart and regular mulching is recommended.

Diseases Affecting Papaya

Papaya ring spot

papaya ring spot


Leaves develop prominent mosaic and chlorosis on the leaf lamina, and water soaked oily streaks on the petioles and upper part of the trunk.  Severe symptoms often include a distortion of young leaves.

Distinctive ring spot patterns on fruit consisting of concentric rings and spots, or c-shaped markings – these markings persist during ripening and can darken to become orange-brown rings as the fruit matures

Profitable chilli farming in Kenya


Aphids transmit the virus to papaya in a non persistent manner;


There is no cure for papaya ring spot disease.
On commercial plantations the early detection and prompt removal of infected plants can contain a localized outbreak. However once the disease becomes established, diseased trees and severely affected blocks should be destroyed, as they provide a source of infection for further spread.

Powdery mildew    

powdery mildew in pawpaw


Small slightly darkened areas, which later become white powdery spots. These spots enlarge and cover the entire leaf area.


Apply sulfur or copper-based fungicides to prevent infection of susceptible plants. For best results, apply early or at first sign of disease. Spray all plant parts thoroughly and repeat at 7-10 day intervals up to the day of harvest.


anthracnose in papaya


Fungal disease caused by the pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides.
Small well defined dried pink spots on the surface of ripening fruit. Later, these lesions grow to 5 cm diameter, become rounded, sunken (from 3 to 5 mm deep) and brown to black in color.


Keep ripening fruits from touching the soil.

Preventative fungicides may help control papaya anthracnose. Use a fungicide containing Copper hydroxide or Mancozeb. Spray the orchard with the fungicide every two weeks.

Papaya mosaic

papaya mosaic virus


Top young leaves of the plants are reduced in size and show blister like patches of dark-green tissue, alternating with yellowish-green lamina.


The virus can be spread through human activity, tools and equipment. Frequently wash your hands and disinfect garden tools, stakes, ties, pots, greenhouse benches to reduce the risk of contamination and avoid working in the garden during damp conditions (viruses are easily spread when plants are wet).

Damping off


Disease of young seedlings. Fungus colonizes the seed and hinders germination. Lesions are seen on the stem at or just above soil level. The stem becomes watery and shrinks, followed by death of the plant.


Use a sterile potting mix, rather than soil from your garden while sowing seeds. Plant your seeds at the proper depth and don’t crowd your seedlings.