Gummy Stem Blight in Santa Rosa County Mellons
Extension Agent - Horticulture/Vegetables
Santa Rosa County
Issue/ Alert Affecting Crop: Santa Rosa County grower have experienced hot, wet conditions ideal for the development of gummy stem blight on watermelon and other cucurbit crops. Also, extremely low temperatures this spring resulted in the late establishment of plants. As a result, there will be a later-than-normal harvest. Local producers normally have melons by early to mid-June, but this year harvest is beginning about three weeks later.
Photo Credits: Dan Mullins
What does the Specialist Say: Gummy stem blight is a chronic problem every year and control is only through use of preventive fungicides. By the time the grower realizes he has a problem it is usually too late for treatment. There are no materials that will “cure” it after it shows up, Growers must start a management program shortly after transplanting or when seeded melons start bunching There are no varieties currently providing any resistance. This condition can also be quite a problem on cantaloupes and other melons, and if you are trying to grow fall pumpkins or winter squash. Stephen M. Olson, Professor of Horticultural Sciences, North Florida Research and Education Center