You are probably here because you grow dragon fruit plants and you may have a sick plant that is trying to understand what is causing the disease and how to treat and correct the problem. Having become a partner on a dragon fruit farm and growing these plants myself, I can assure you that there are a number of different diseases that can afflict your plants and dragon fruit stem rot is one of them. So, let's take a look at what dragon fruit stem rot is and how you can treat the disease.
Dragon fruit stem rot is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection of the dragon fruit plant. Depending on the cause of the rot, whether bacterial or fungal, it can be the yellowing and rotting of the stem and leaves caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris and Erwinia carotovora or by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (anthracnose). centers turning white. Treatment is usually with a copper fungicide, mancozeb, and metalaxyl sprays. Spray one of each chemical at weekly intervals. and prune the infected parts of the plant.
As you can see in the images above, dragon fruit stem rot can make the plant look unsightly and very unhealthy.
Effective treatment always depends on accurately identifying the cause of the rot, as treating a fungal infection is different than treating a bacterial infection.
We will discuss our 3 effective treatments one by one at the end of the article after explaining the causes of dragon fruit stem rot so that in simple terms you can see exactly what your infection might be, so read on.
It is important to note that when root rot occurs, plants:
- Have low drought tolerance
- sunburn easier
- stop growing
- the fruits are smaller
- Susceptible to other diseases
The fungus problem seems to be more common in tropical countries due to the right circumstances like humidity, humidity and heat.
The fungus spores may already be on a healthy plant, but much like the human immune system, your own "immune system" will keep the fungus in check when the plant is healthy, strong, and well nourished.
Or the fungal spores can be transferred to a healthy plant by transmission through infected cutting tools or insects that can carry the spores.
When a plant is "weak" and exposed to the fungus, its defenses are not strong enough to fight the infection. However, even a comparatively "weak" plant that is not exposed to fungus or bacteria appears healthy. Therefore, it is better to prevent any source of infection in the first place.
Prevention is much easier and better than cure, but at the same time you must ensure that your plants are "strong", well fed and healthy.
We'll discuss more about how to achieve this at the end of the article.
Now let's take a look at the possible causes of dragon fruit stem rot.
Yellowed or yellowed dragon fruit stem
This could be caused by too much sun or sunburn, but it would probably be obvious if your leaves were yellowing as well and not just the stem. Here is a photo of what yellowed dragon fruit looks like in too much sun.
The probable cause of the yellowing and rotting of dragon fruit stems (this can also occur on the leaves) are the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris and Erwinia carotovora.Interestingly, calcium deficiency has been shown to make this problem worse.
It appears that plants lacking calcium and nitrogen are more susceptible to serious infections such as soft rot.
Soft rot caused by the bacterium Erwinia carotovora (E. carotovora) resembles the main group of enterobacteria)it can start from injured areas and spread. Lesions may occur from sunburn or a sore spot caused by an anthracnose fungus (Colletotrichum).. So the original cause could be too much direct sun, especially on a younger plant, or a fungal infection that caused wounds that allowed the bacterial infection to occur.
Plague of the Brown Dragonfruit Stem
It is caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea and the symptoms are small spots that can be yellow and can increase up to 5 cm in diameter.
The stem of the dragon fruit turns white
This is caused by the fungus known as Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Disease symptoms caused by Colletotrichum species are commonly known as anthracnose. As you can see in the images above, anthracnose looks like reddish-brown lesions with yellow or white circles on the edges of vine stems.The centers of lesions may turn white and coalesce into a large mass to rot much of the vine spine.
It is interesting to note that even if the outer part of the trunk or branch rots, as long as the main or central cylinder is intact, it can still support and support the vine (as seen in the image below).
However, fruit production can be affected. Because of this, you can still see the healthy leaves on the upper part of the plant, while the lower part looks ugly and damaged.
As mentioned, although the leaves look good on top, fruit production can be affected, resulting in smaller fruit.
Dragon fruit stem rot treatment
If you've identified your cause by reading the information above, you can now proceed with proper treatment.
You may want to note that burning your plant may be a symptom, the roots of the dragon fruit plant may be unhealthy, and the sunburnt area may provide an entry point for other fungal pathogens to enter the plant.
You might want to take a look at our post:How close can you plant a tree to a fire hydrant?For an interesting article on legal distance, consider planting a tree on a fire hydrant. This includes plants like dragon fruit. If you live in Florida, take a look at this article:The Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Floridafor helpful advice and guidance on the best fruit trees to grow in South and North Florida.
So let's look at the treatments
1. Treatment of soft rot in dragon fruit plants
If you've identified your problem above as bacterial soft rot, effective control includes pruning dying stems.
It's important to sterilize all of your tools before and after every cut so you don't spread the disease.
Sterilization methods may include immersion in an alcohol solution, 10% bleach solution, or heating the slides with a flame to kill any pathogens that may be present on the surface.
Spraying affected areas with copper sulfate or another form of copper fungicide will help the plant in the early stages of infection.
Copper fungicides will not cure an infected plant, but rather protect it from developing the disease. Therefore, it is important to start using fungicides as soon as you discover this disease, or better yet, bleach them before the problem occurs.
When whitewashing, you paint the vulnerable areas with a lime solution, an antifungal and a pesticide, and a fixative like natural clay to prevent disease from developing in the first place.
You also need to systematically improve the health of your plants by making sure the soil drains well.
Do not use chemical herbicides on the base of your plants, as this can alter bacterial diversity and soil balance, leading to an increase in "bad bacteria" over "good bacteria" and affecting the health of your plant.
Make sure the dragon fruit plants have enough nutrients like magnesium, potassium and phosphorus with some calcium.
Prevent sun damage by ensuring that plants, especially young ones, are protected from direct sunlight by shade cloth or natural shade.
As the plant ages and gets stronger this may be less of an issue and sunlight will be important for producing quality fruit.
Treatment of Botryosphaeria disease
For this treatment, dead branches must be cut and discarded far from the plantations. Remember to use good sterilization practices on your tools when making these cuts.
Try to maintain a very thick layer of mulch to speed up the decomposition of mushrooms in the soil.
Always use good hygiene by sterilizing your tools and good watering practices by watering them in the morning to allow plant surfaces to dry quickly to minimize disease.
When the weather changes from cold to hot, you need to change your irrigation schedule, paying special attention to your irrigation needs in hot climates. Even though they are a cactus, they still need watering.
2. Treatment of anthracnose in dragon fruit
You need to carefully remove all diseases
Remove diseased stems by cutting them off, making sure to remove all diseased parts. Seal the wound with powdered cinnamon to prevent a new infection from entering the plant.
Be sure to clean your cutting tools with a 10% bleach solution or use a flashlight to heat the cutting blades. Be careful not to burn the plant with the hot blade, let it cool down a bit before using it on the stems.
If you have heavy rains and wet, foggy conditions, try applying some copper hydroxide before wet conditions.
Copper will help reduce new infections, but it will not "cure" existing infections.
We've had some success with copper, mancozeb, and metalaxyl sprays. Sprayed one of each chemical at weekly intervals.
Again, you need to systematically improve your plants' natural defenses and health through good nutrition, soil quality, good growing conditions such as adequate drainage and shade, and crop management.
This includes limiting plant canopy moisture by morning watering to allow plant surfaces to dry quickly throughout the day.
Keep areas around plants free of weeds, do not use chemical herbicides.
Remove and discard all diseased plants or plant parts (i.e. fruit, stems, and flowers) immediately if disease symptoms appear.
*References:University of California
We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We have been interested in fruit for the last few decades and have been busy improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruit lover for over a decade and live almost exclusively on fruit as my main food. My wife Raquel worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedling shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgeable farmer. We recently started a new dragon fruit farm with friends.
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