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Okra or Ladies Finger is an annual plant that belongs to the Malvaceae family. Okra is mostly grown for its green tender nutritive fruits. Okra is a rich source of vitamins, calcium, protein, and other minerals. India is one of the largest producers of Okra in the world.
Dense clay soils with poor drainage give favorable conditions for fungal disease in Okra. Okra shows no resistance to verticillium wilt, which damages Okra roots and causes wilting and yellowing of the plant above ground level. Lower plant leaves show symptoms first, and problems move higher on the plant as the disease spreads. Leaves shrivel and die in the final stages of the infection. No chemical treatment will help Okra infected with verticillium wilt and Fungal spores overwinter in the soil, setting the stage for more problems. Solarization by heating the upper layers of soil under clear plastic sheeting decreases the incidence of verticillium wilt.
Symptoms – The insect larvae bore into the shoots during vegetative growth resulting in drooping of affected shoots.
Control – Destroy infected parts. If the pest population is high, spray Spinosad by 1ml/Ltr water or Flubendiamide by 50ml/acre added in 200 Ltr water.
Symptoms – Large or small holes in leaves; caterpillars are easily distinguished by the way they arch their body when moving; caterpillars are pale green with a white line running down either side of their body; eggs are laid singly, generally on the lower leaf surface close to the leaf margin, and are white or pale green.
Management – Looper populations are held in check by natural enemies; an organically acceptable control method is the application of Bacillus thuringiensis which effectively kills younger larvae. Chemical sprays may damage populations of natural enemies and must be selected carefully.
Fruit borer Pests of Okra
Symptoms – Borer infestation cause toppling and death of young seedlings, withering and drying up of individual leaves and central shoot. Fruits will be damaged severely.
Control – A spray of carbaryl or endosulfan or deltamethrin is effective for the control of borer. Clean cultivation and summer ploughing is also helpful in reducing pest infestation.
Whitefly Pests of Okra Crop
Symptoms – The insect does not cause considerable damage to the crop but acts as a vector to transmit the yellow vein mosaic virus disease.
Aphid Pests in Okra Farming
Symptoms – In severe infestation, they cause curling and deformation of young leaves. They secrete honeydew like substance and black, sooty mould is developed on affected parts.
Shoot and fruit borer Pests of Okra
Symptoms – Larvae bore into the fruits which become unmarketable and cannot be used for human consumption. The larvae bore into the growing shoot initially and fruits at a later stage. It is the major pest of Okra.
Leafhopper Pests of Okra Plants
Symptoms – Leafhopper pest attacks the crop at its early stage of growth. Small, greenish leafhoppers; adults and nymphs are found on the bottom side of the leaves. The nymphs and the adults suck the cell sap from the leaves. Due to this, the leaves curl upwards along the margins and have a burnt look that extends over the entire leaf area. The affected plants show stunted growth.
Control – Soil application of Carbofuran 3 G at the time of sowing effectively controls the pest. Spraying the crop with Monocrotophos (0.05%) at periodical intervals starting with the appearance of the pest provides good control.
Root-knot nematode Pests of Okra Plant
Symptoms – The root-knot nematode enters the roots causing characteristic root knots or galls. The aerial symptoms consist mostly of stunted plant growth and yellowing of leaves. Nematode attack in the seedling stage leads to pre- and postemergence damage resulting in reduced crop stand.
Control – Cultural control methods such as rotation with non-host crops for example cereals, fallowing, and deep ploughing 2 to 3 times in summer months is suggested. Application of Nemagon with irrigation before sowing is suggested to protect the seedling in its early stage of plant growth.
Yellow vein mosaic virus
Symptoms – The main symptom of this disease is a homogenous interwoven network of yellow veins. The growth of the plant becomes affected and they remain stunted. Fruits also give a yellow appearance with a tough texture and small size. It causes yield losses of up to 80-90%. This disease is spread due to whitefly and leafhopper.
Symptoms – White powdery growth is detected on young leaves and also on fruits. In severe conditions, you can observe premature defoliation and fruit drop. Fruit quality gets deteriorated and remains small in size.
Control – If you observed infestation in the field, take a spray of Wettable Sulphur 25gm/10Ltr of water, 4times at 10 days interval, or Tridemorph by 5ml or Penconazol by 10ml/10Ltr of water for 4 times with a 10 days interval.
Symptoms – The characteristic symptom of this disease is a homogenous interwoven network of yellow veins, enclosing islands of green tissues within. It causes yield losses of nearly 80 to 90%.
Control – 4 to 5 foliar sprayings of Dimethoate (0.05%) or Oxydemeton methyl (0.02%) at the 10-day interval, followed by 1 or 2 sprays of mineral oil (2%). Apply Carbofuran @ 1kg/ha at the time of sowing. Use resistant varieties Arka Anamika and Arka Abhay.
Symptoms – High humidity, cloudy weather, overcrowding, and wet soils mainly favour the development of damping-off, and damping-off kills seedlings before or soon after they emerge. Infection before seedling emergence results in lower germination. If the decay is after seedlings emergence, they fall over or die which is referred to as “damp-off.” The destructiveness of the disease based on environmental conditions and the amount of pathogen in the soil. Seedlings that emerge develop a lesion near where the tender stem in contacts with the soil surface and the tissues beneath the lesion become soft due to which the seedlings collapse.
Control – Excessive irrigation should be avoided to reduce humidity around the plants. Seed treatment with antagonist fungal culture of Thiram (2 to 3 g /kg of seed) or Trichoderma viride (3 to 4 g/kg of seed) and soil drenching with Bavistin (0.1%) affords protection against the disease. The field must be frequently inspected for the disease-affected seedlings. Such seedlings must be removed and destroyed.
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