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10 Pea Plant Diseases


pea disease infects a pea tree


Green peas are little green gems bursting with sweetness and nutrition. Despite their nutritional value, peas are susceptible to diseases that can destroy an entire harvest. However, fear not my fellow veggie enthusiast! This guide equips you with knowledge of the 10 most common pea diseases. 

Understanding these foes is the first step to keeping your pea plants healthy and your harvests plentiful. So, let’s delve into the world of peas  and discover how to save your precious pods!

10 Pea Plant Disease and Their Solutions

  1. Powdery mildew (Erysiphe pisi): This fungal disease appears as a powdery white coating on the leaves, stems, and pods, leading to reduced photosynthesis and yield loss.
  2. Downy mildew (Peronospora viciae): Another fungal disease, downy mildew causes yellowing and wilting of leaves, ultimately leading to plant death if not controlled.
  3. Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum): This soil-borne fungal disease infects the roots, causing wilting, yellowing, and eventual death of the plant. It can persist in the soil for many years.
  4. Pea mosaic virus (PMV): This viral disease causes mottling and distortion of leaves, stunting, and reduced yield. It can be transmitted by aphids and through infected seeds.
  5. Pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV): Another viral disease, PEMV causes enations (swellings) on leaves, leading to reduced photosynthesis and yield loss.
  6. Ascochyta blight (Ascochyta pisi): This fungal disease affects leaves, stems, and pods, causing brown lesions and premature defoliation. It can significantly reduce yield and seed quality.
  7. Anthracnose (Colletotrichum trifolii): Anthracnose causes dark, sunken lesions on stems, leaves, and pods, leading to reduced photosynthesis and yield loss. It thrives in warm and humid conditions.
  8. Root rot (Rhizoctonia solani): Root rot infects the roots, causing decay and reduced nutrient uptake, leading to wilting and stunting of plants. It is favored by wet and poorly drained soils.
  9. Aphanomyces root rot (Aphanomyces euteiches): This soil-borne oomycete pathogen infects the roots, causing yellowing, wilting, and eventual plant death. It is particularly problematic in waterlogged soils.
  10. Botrytis gray mold (Botrytis cinerea): This fungal disease affects flowers, pods, and stems, causing grayish mold growth and rotting. It can lead to significant yield loss, especially in humid conditions.

1. Powdery Mildew Pea Disease

Powdery mildew, a fungal disease commonly afflicting pea plants, manifests through the conspicuous appearance of white or grayish powdery growth on leaves, stems, and pods. This fungal infection not only distorts leaf structure but also impedes photosynthesis, often resulting in premature leaf drop and diminished yield. The disease is primarily caused by various species of the Erysiphe genus, thriving in warm, dry conditions with high humidity.

Managing Powdery Mildew in Peas

To manage its impact, farmers should employ cultural practices like crop rotation and removal of infected plant debris. Similarly, use resistant pea varieties and fungicidal sprays where applicable. 

Regular field monitoring aids in the early detection of symptoms, allowing for timely intervention to mitigate the spread of powdery mildew and safeguard pea crop productivity.

In addition, Implementing a holistic approach to disease management, integrating cultural practices with targeted interventions, is crucial for controlling powdery mildew effectively. 

By adopting these strategies, farmers can mitigate the impact of powdery mildew disease, ensuring healthy pea crops and sustained agricultural productivity.

2. Downy Mildew in Peas

Downy mildew in peas, is caused by the Peronospora viciae pathogen, and poses a significant threat to pea crop. This is especially so in regions with warm and humid conditions.

 This fungal disease manifests through the yellowing and wilting of leaves, ultimately leading to plant death if left unchecked. One of the hallmark signs of downy mildew is the appearance of a fuzzy, downy growth on the undersides of infected leaves, which distinguishes it from powdery mildew. 

As the disease progresses, affected plants experience stunted growth and reduced vigor, resulting in diminished yield potential.

Solutions to Downy Mildew in Peas

To address the challenge posed by downy mildew in peas, farmers can implement a range of preventive and management strategies. 

One management strategy is the use of cultural practices such as crop rotation and proper sanitation. This can help minimize the buildup of pathogens in the soil and reduce the risk of disease recurrence. 

Additionally, selecting resistant pea varieties that exhibit tolerance or resistance to downy mildew can provide a proactive means of disease control.

 In cases where downy mildew outbreaks occur, timely application of fungicidal sprays can help suppress disease progression and limit yield losses.

 Furthermore, regular scouting of fields for early detection of symptoms is essential for prompt intervention and effective disease management.

3. Fusarium wilt in Peas

Fusarium wilt is caused by a soil-borne fungus known as Fusarium oxysporum. This pathogen infects the roots and vascular system of the plant, leading to a range of detrimental symptoms. 

Initially, infected plants may exhibit yellowing of the lower leaves, which gradually progresses upward. Thereafter, the plants will display wilting, stunted growth, and browning of the vascular tissue when stems are cut open. 

In severe cases, Fusarium wilt can cause complete plant collapse and death, significantly reducing yield.

The spread of Fusarium wilt is facilitated by the persistence of fungal spores in the soil, where they can survive for many years, even in the absence of host plants. The pathogen is also capable of being transmitted through contaminated soil, water, equipment, and infected plant debris.

Lastly, environmental factors such as warm soil temperatures and poor soil drainage can exacerbate the severity of the disease, making it more challenging to control.

Solution of Fusarium Wilt in Peas

Managing Fusarium wilt in peas requires an integrated approach. One of the most effective strategies is crop rotation, and avoiding planting peas in infested fields for several years. 

This practice helps to reduce the pathogen load in the soil. 

Similarly, pea farmers can Utilize resistant pea varieties that offer significant protection against the disease. 

Also, good agricultural practices, such as ensuring well-drained soil conditions and avoiding overwatering, can help minimize the risk of infection. 

Additionally, soil solarization, which involves covering the soil with clear plastic to trap solar radiation, can help reduce fungal spore populations in the soil. In cases of severe infestation, soil fumigation with appropriate chemicals might be considered, although this is often a last resort due to environmental and economic concerns.

4. Pea Mosaic Virus

a pea infected with a pea disease

Pea mosaic virus (PMV) is a significant viral disease affecting pea plants, causing a variety of symptoms that can lead to considerable yield losses. 

The virus is transmitted primarily by aphids, which spread the infection from plant to plant as they feed. Similarly, the Infected plants typically exhibit mottled, mosaic-like patterns on their leaves, which may also become distorted and curled.

 Other symptoms include stunted growth, reduced vigor, and, necrotic streaks on the stems and pods. These symptoms can severely impact the overall health of the plant, reducing both the quality and quantity of the harvest.

Managing Pea Mosaic Virus

The management of pea mosaic virus requires a multifaceted approach. Since aphids are the primary vectors, controlling these pests is crucial in preventing the spread of the virus. 

This can be achieved through the use of insecticides, and biological control agents, and by promoting beneficial insects that prey on aphids. 

Additionally, implementing cultural practices such as crop rotation and the removal of infected plant debris can help reduce the presence of the virus in the field.

Using virus-resistant pea varieties is another effective strategy to manage PMV. Breeding programs have developed several pea cultivars that are resistant or tolerant to the virus, and planting these varieties can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of the disease. 

Similarly, regular monitoring of pea crops for early signs of infection and vector presence is also essential, allowing for timely interventions that can mitigate the impact of the virus.

Lastly, as a pea farmer, you should integrate pest management, cultural practices, and the use of resistant varieties.

 This holistic approach not only minimizes the direct damage caused by the virus but also contributes to the overall sustainability and productivity of pea farming systems.

5. Pea Enation Mosaic Virus

Pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV) is a serious viral disease affecting pea plants, leading to significant crop losses. The virus is transmitted by aphids, particularly the pea aphid, which spreads the infection while feeding on the plants. 

Symptoms of PEMV include the appearance of translucent, vein-banding patterns on the leaves, which later develop into blister-like enations or outgrowths on the undersides. 

These can severely deform the leaves and pods, compromising the plant’s photosynthetic ability and overall health. Infected plants often exhibit stunted growth, reduced vigor, and yield losses due to malformed pods and reduced seed quality.

Managing the Pea Enation Mosaic Virus

Managing the Pea enation mosaic virus involves several strategies focused on controlling the aphid vectors and minimizing the virus’s spread.

 Effective aphid management is crucial and can be achieved through the use of insecticides, biological control methods, and cultural practices that reduce aphid populations. 

Encouraging the presence of natural aphid predators, such as lady beetles and lacewings, can help keep aphid numbers in check. Additionally, applying reflective mulches and using row covers can deter aphid colonization.

Cultural practices play a vital role in managing PEMV. Crop rotation, avoiding the planting of peas in fields previously infected with the virus, can reduce the disease incidence.

 Removing and destroying infected plants and plant debris helps to eliminate potential sources of the virus. Using certified virus-free seeds is another essential practice to prevent the introduction of PEMV into the field.

Lastly, planting resistant or tolerant pea varieties is a highly effective strategy for managing PEMV. 

Breeding programs have developed several pea cultivars with resistance to PEMV, and using these varieties can significantly reduce the impact of the disease. 

Regular monitoring of pea crops for early detection of aphids and virus symptoms allows for timely intervention and the implementation of control measures.

6. Ascochyta Blight in Peas

This disease is caused by a complex of fungal pathogens including Ascochyta pisi, Phoma medicaginis var. pinodella, and Mycosphaerella pinodes, is a significant disease affecting pea crops. 

This disease manifests as dark brown to black lesions on leaves, stems, and pods. Infected plants exhibit symptoms such as spotting, streaking, and blighting, leading to defoliation, stem breakage, and reduced pod quality. 

The disease thrives in wet and humid conditions, which promote the spread and infection of the fungus.

Managing Ascochyta blight in Peas

Management of Ascochyta blight involves several strategies aimed at reducing the inoculum level and preventing the spread of the disease. 

Crop rotation is crucial; peas should not be grown in the same field for at least three to four years to reduce the pathogen load in the soil. 

This practice helps break the disease cycle by depriving the fungus of its host. Additionally, using certified disease-free seeds can prevent the introduction of the pathogen into the field. 

Seed treatments with fungicides can further reduce the risk of seed-borne infections.

Cultural practices such as improving field drainage and avoiding overhead irrigation can help minimize the environmental conditions favorable for Ascochyta blight. 

Ensuring adequate spacing between plants can improve air circulation, reducing humidity levels around the plants. Removing and destroying infected plant debris after harvest can also help reduce the sources of inoculum for future crops.


7. Anthracose in Peas

Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum pisi, which is a destructive disease affecting pea plants. 

It is characterized by dark, sunken lesions on leaves, stems, and pods. These lesions may be accompanied by pinkish spore masses, particularly under moist conditions. Also, Infected plants often exhibit defoliation, stem breakage, and reduced pod quality, leading to significant yield losses. 

The disease thrives in warm, humid environments and can spread rapidly through infected plant debris, seeds, and splashing water.

Managing Anthracnose in Peas

To manage anthracnose in peas, several integrated strategies are essential. One of the primary methods is crop rotation. 

Avoid planting peas in the same field for at least three to four years to disrupt the disease cycle and reduce pathogen levels in the soil. 

Pea farmers should also use certified disease-free seeds to prevent the introduction of the pathogen into new fields. Seed treatments with appropriate fungicides can further reduce the risk of seed-borne infections.

In addition, the disease can also be controlled using Cultural practices that play a vital role in disease management. A good example is by ensuring good field sanitation by removing and destroying infected plant debris.

Similarly, Improving field drainage and avoiding overhead irrigation can reduce the humidity levels around the plants, creating less favorable conditions for the fungus. 

In addition, timely fungicide applications, particularly during periods of wet weather or when the disease is first detected, can help control the spread of the fungus. Fungicides should be applied based on disease forecasts and regular field monitoring to ensure their effectiveness.

8. Root Rot Disease in Peas

Root Rot disease is caused by a variety of soil-borne pathogens, including Rhizoctonia solani, Pythium spp., and Aphanomyces euteiches. 

These pathogens infect the roots, leading to symptoms such as root decay, wilting, stunted growth, and yellowing of the leaves. 

In severe cases, the plants may collapse and die. Root rot pathogens thrive in wet, poorly drained soils and can persist in the soil for many years, making the disease difficult to manage.

Managing Root Rot in Peas

To manage root rot in peas, it is essential to adopt an integrated approach combining cultural, chemical, and genetic strategies. 

One of the most effective ways to prevent root rot is through proper soil management. Ensuring well-drained soil conditions is crucial, as waterlogged soils create an ideal environment for root rot pathogens. Implementing raised beds or using well-drained fields can help reduce soil moisture levels.

In addition, avoiding overwatering and ensuring proper irrigation management also play critical roles in preventing the disease.

Also, Crop rotation is another important strategy. Rotating peas with non-host crops for several years can help reduce the buildup of root rot pathogens in the soil. 

Avoid planting peas or other susceptible crops in the same field consecutively to break the disease cycle. Additionally, incorporating organic matter into the soil can improve soil structure and drainage, making the environment less favorable for pathogens.

Soil solarization, which involves covering the soil with clear plastic to trap solar radiation and raise soil temperatures, can help reduce pathogen levels in the soil. This method is particularly effective in sunny and warm climates.

Chemical control options include the use of fungicide treatments, particularly for seed treatments. Fungicides can protect young seedlings from early infections, giving them a better chance to establish and grow.

 However, the effectiveness of fungicides can vary depending on the pathogen and environmental conditions, and they should be used as part of an integrated disease management program.

9. Aphanomyces Root Rot in Peas

This disease is caused by a soil-borne disease known as oomycete Aphanomyces euteiches.

.This pathogen can persist in the soil for many years and thrives in waterlogged, poorly drained soils. Symptoms of Aphanomyces root rot include yellowing and wilting of the leaves, stunted growth, and root systems that become brown, water-soaked, and eventually rot. 

Infected plants often collapse and die, leading to significant yield losses.

Managing Aphanomyces Root Rot Disease

To manage Aphanomyces root rot, farmers must employ a comprehensive approach that includes cultural practices, resistant varieties, and soil management techniques. 

One of the most critical factors is ensuring good soil drainage. Since Aphanomyces euteiches thrive in wet conditions, improving field drainage can significantly reduce disease incidence. 

This can be achieved by planting on raised beds, improving soil structure through the addition of organic matter, and avoiding over-irrigation.

Crop rotation is another essential strategy. Avoid planting peas or other susceptible crops (such as beans and lentils) in the same field for at least three to five years. Instead, rotate with non-host crops like cereals, which can help reduce the pathogen load in the soil. In other words, crop rotation breaks the disease cycle and decreases the chances of severe outbreaks.

Using resistant or tolerant pea varieties can also be an effective way to manage Aphanomyces root rot. Plant breeders have developed several pea cultivars with improved resistance to this pathogen. Choosing these varieties can help mitigate the impact of the disease and support healthier crop growth.

Soil solarization is a useful technique in managing Aphanomyces root rot, especially in warm, sunny climates.

By covering the soil with clear plastic sheets for several weeks during the hottest part of the year, soil temperatures can be raised to levels that are lethal to the pathogen, thereby reducing its population.

Chemical control options for Aphanomyces root rot are limited, as there are no fungicides specifically effective against Aphanomyces euteiches. 

However, seed treatments with fungicides can offer some protection to young seedlings, helping them establish before they are exposed to the pathogen in the soil.

Additionally, good agricultural practices such as cleaning equipment between fields to prevent soil movement and pathogen spread, and promptly removing and destroying infected plants, can help manage the disease.

By integrating these strategies, farmers can effectively manage Aphanomyces root rot in pea crops, reducing its impact on plant health and yield. 

This integrated approach is vital for maintaining the sustainability and productivity of pea farming systems, ensuring long-term agricultural success.

10. Botrytis Gray Mold in Peas

Botrytis gray mold, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, is a widespread and destructive disease affecting pea crops, particularly in cool, damp environments. This pathogen infects a wide range of plant tissues, including flowers, leaves, stems, and pods.

The disease manifests as grayish-brown lesions covered with a fuzzy gray mold, which is composed of fungal spores.

Infected plants may exhibit symptoms such as blighted flowers, rotted pods, and collapsed stems, leading to significant yield losses and reduced crop quality.

Management Strategies for Botrytis Gray Mold:

  1. Cultural Practices:
    • Proper Spacing: Ensuring adequate spacing between plants can improve air circulation, reducing humidity levels around the plants and making conditions less favorable for the development of gray mold.
    • Pruning and Thinning: Removing excess foliage can help increase airflow and light penetration, further reducing humidity and the likelihood of infection.
    • Sanitation: Regularly remove and destroy infected plant debris and crop residues to reduce sources of inoculum. Keeping the field clean helps prevent the spread of the fungus.
    • Water Management: Avoid overhead irrigation to reduce leaf wetness duration. Instead, use drip irrigation or water early in the day to allow foliage to dry before nightfall.
  2. Resistant Varieties:
    • Plant Selection: Whenever possible, choose pea varieties that have been bred for resistance to Botrytis gray mold. While complete resistance may not be available, some varieties offer improved tolerance to the disease.
  3. Chemical Control:
    • Fungicide Application: Fungicides can be an effective tool in managing Botrytis gray mold, especially during periods of high humidity and cool temperatures. Apply fungicides preventively and rotate between different modes of action to prevent the development of fungicide-resistant strains of the pathogen.
    • Timing: Apply fungicides during critical periods, such as flowering and pod formation, when plants are most vulnerable to infection.
  4. Biological Control:
    • Beneficial Microorganisms: Some biological control agents, such as Trichoderma spp. and Bacillus subtilis, can help suppress Botrytis cinerea by outcompeting the pathogen or producing antifungal compounds. These can be applied as soil or foliar treatments.
  5. Environmental Management:
    • Temperature and Humidity Control: In greenhouse or high tunnel production, controlling temperature and humidity can significantly reduce the incidence of gray mold. Use ventilation, heating, and deh


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