Eggplants with tobacco ringspot may turn completely yellow and die, leaving you with no harvest for the season. You can prevent and control this viral disease by managing pests, using resistant varieties, and practicing good garden hygiene.
What Causes Eggplant Yellows?
Tobacco ringspot virus is often called yellows when it infects eggplants. This is because the symptoms include yellowing of the leaves and eventually of the entire plant if the infection is severe.
Although tobacco ringspot virus is named after tobacco, it can affect a lot of different plants that may grow in your vegetable garden, including:
The virus is spread by dagger nematodes, but infected seeds and plant debris also contribute to the spread of the disease.
Signs of Eggplant Yellows Disease
Ringspot virus in eggplants is characterized largely by yellowing of the upper leaves. The leaves may also show a whitening color. Over time, as the infection becomes worse, the lower leaves will yellow, and eventually the entire plant will turn yellow and die.
In other plants, the virus causes more of a mottled or mosaic pattern, but eggplant yellows disease is mostly identified by the leaf yellowing.
Managing Eggplant Tobacco Ringspot Virus
This virus and the resulting infection can be very damaging, and not just to your eggplants. It affects several different vegetables, so if you have it in your eggplants, other plants in your garden could be susceptible to the infection. Practices such as getting quality, disease-free seeds, or using varieties of eggplant that are resistant to tobacco ringspot virus could help you prevent having the disease in your garden at all.
If you do get the disease, and see signs of yellows in your eggplants, you can do a few things to manage it. Destroy affected plants before they can infect other plants. Also, keep your garden weed free, as there are several weeds that can host the virus.
Taking steps to control nematodes in the soil can also help. This may involve fumigation of the soil to kill the pests. Finally, you can try rotating crops, using those not susceptible to the virus for a few years before growing eggplant again.