Sukuma wiki diseases:
A number of diseases attack sukuma wiki.
Majority of them never cause significant loses as you can easily control them using fungicides.
Some of the diseases clear without any action from you because the plant has developed some resistance to them.
However, there are 3 diseases that are a sukuma wiki farmer’s worst nightmare.
These diseases are so difficult to control as they are resistant to fungicides.
For that reason, the diseases inflict substantial loss in quality of sukuma wiki leaves.
In severe cases, the diseases can kill an entire plant and destroy an entire sukuma wiki farm leading to loss of hundreds of thousands of shillings. So if you want to get consistent income from sukuma wiki, you need to know…
3 Top Sukuma Wiki Diseases
# 1. Powdery mildew
This is the most serious sukuma wiki disease in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Farmers report up, 70% loss of harvests in severe disease infections.
So if you have a kale farm, you need to pay close attention to this disease, and take the necessary steps to prevent it lest you suffer loss from it.
Powdery mildew symptoms
When this kale disease attacks a plant, the underside of the leaves develops small whitish grey patches.
As the disease severity increases, the whitish patches join and cover the entire underside of the plant leaves.
When that happens, the kale leaves start paling, and hardening.
Pale and hardened leaves are unsightly, and unpalatable hence unmarketable.
Eventually, as disease gets to peak levels, the entire plant dries and dies.
One heartbreaking thing about this disease is, “It is prevalent during the dry season.”
That is bad news to farmers as that’s the time for peak sukuma wiki demand.
Any loss of quality and even plant death at this time is a serious dent to farmer’s earnings per acre.
To make the matters worse, the disease is highly resistant to fungicides.
That said what options do farmers have?
First, to control the disease, we have to look at the conditions that favor its development.
Research has shown…
Hot weather during the day coupled with cold temperatures at night favor the development of the disease.
So to effectively control the disease, you need to manipulate the environmental conditions that favor the disease.
You can do this by, “irritating the kale during the evenings and night.”
You can also use broad spectrum fungicides in conjunction with irrigation.
Farmers who have adopted the practice normally report success in controlling the disease.
#2. Pythium Root Rot
This is another serious sukuma wiki disease.
It usually attacks the plant when they are seedlings in the nursery.
If left uncontrolled, it can wipe the entire nursery leading to serious loss of time and income.
You and I know how important a nursery is to a farmer.
Without having a healthy sukuma wiki nursery you are not in the kale farming business.
That’s why I consider Pythium root rot disease to be a serious kale disease.
Pythium Root Rot Disease Symptoms
The seedlings develop water-soaked spots on their tender roots.
With the advancement of the disease, the water-soaked spots shrink and dry leading to the blockage of the root.
The blockage means that the roots can no longer transport water or nutrients to other plant parts.
When that happens, the seedling dies.
The good news is, “It is much easier to control this disease.”
You can do that by applying preventive fungicides sprays and you’ll be good to go.
Another important practice you need to adopt is the daily checking of the nursery.
Doing so will enable you to spot disease development sooner before a lot of damage is done.
# 3. Black Rot
In my opinion, this disease is less severe than the two above.
I’m saying that because the specific condition that favors the development of the disease is having excessive water in the growing field.
If your farm is a on a gentle slope you can create drainage channels to remove excess water from the farm.
However, if your farm is on a flat area where drainage is a problem, then this disease will be a major problem to you.
Black Rot Disease Symptoms
Black spots develop on the stem of the plant.
As the disease increases in severity, the spots become bigger and bigger.
The spots then become water soaked then rotting starts.
The rotting stems and leaf stalks emit a foul smell.
During severe infestation, this sukuma wiki disease can destroy a whole farm.
The best and only way to control the disease is to grow your kale in a well drained area.
If that is not possible, you can dig drainage channels to remove excess water from the farm.
If you don’t have any other well drained land, then you can use the flat land to grow sukuma during the dry season when there is no excess water.
Key Takeaway On Sukuma Wiki Diseases:
Never let the existence of this three major sukuma wiki/ kale diseases, discourage you from growing kale.
They are an ordinary challenge that you can get over.
What are your thoughts on THIS?