Chayote Pests and Diseases: Complete Guide with Photos

Good morning to all gardeners! I’m still freaking out about chayote , I can’t stop reading manuals on how to grow it, its properties, the amount of dishes that can be made with it etc … I’m looking forward to taking a few to Spain to plant in the garden, I hope they don’t stop me in customs ^^

For now I leave you this information about the pests and diseases of the chayote and some solutions to combat them ecologically.

1. Pests and diseases of chayote

In Agrohuerto we have been dealing with the issue of common pests and diseases that can affect our garden for a long time, so many are already known to us and we can treat them without problems by reviewing the advice that authors such as Lucía, Sandra or Dani have left us. Thus, the pests and diseases of the chayote that are familiar to us are:

1.1. Red spider

We can easily identify it if we observe clear crusts on the fruits and that the leaves turn yellowish . We can also observe spiders with a characteristic reddish color. It is very important to control it in our chayoteras because this pest is associated with the transmission of other diseases such as scabies or scab (it is a vector insect, it can carry diseases).

1.2. The white fly

We can identify this fly by turning the leaves, it is usually there where they rest and lay their eggs. The most visible damage occurs on leaves and stems, sometimes they can generate spots on the fruits, which causes their commercial rejection. A simple control with chromatic traps is enough.

1.3. Miner insects

We have already talked about some mining insects such as the Tuta (moth) or the Liriomyza (mining flies). In this case, the chayotera is usually affected by Lepidoptera (moths) of the genus Pyralidae, Diaphania hyalinata and Diaphania nitidalis , moths that generally affect all cucurbits.

As you know, it is the larvae that dig galleries in the leaves, leaving those characteristic marks. The worst damage is registered in the fruits, these larvae enter the interior creating galleries that cause the rotting of the fruit and allowing other fungal diseases to penetrate.

To control these moths, I recommend cultural practices, as in the case of the cabbage butterfly , to observe the leaves to destroy the eggs and capture all living moths with chromatic traps and pheromones. In this way you will not have to use chemical treatments, although if things get out of hand, you can always use the famous Bacillus thurigiensis .

2. Chayote diseases: fungi

Although we have already talked about fungi in the garden in a general way, in this section I focus on some more specific diseases of this species. Many of them are linked to very humid environments or the rainy season, so they would not have to appear in drier or Mediterranean environments.

2.1. Fusarium oxisporium chayote

Among the types of fusarium, the one that could affect chayotes is Fusarium oxisporium , a fungus that mainly attacks the roots causing them to rot. It is easily manifested by a general wilting and yellowing of the plant.

To combat this fungus, it is recommended to eliminate the affected specimens, always use healthy seeds or fruits for planting and carry out solarization prior to planting if the land has been affected by this problem before.

Solarization consists of covering the affected soil, previously watered, with a transparent plastic in a hot season. Solar radiation will affect the plastic by heating the space between it and the ground to such a temperature that it will kill the spores of the fungus.

2.2. Chayote bladder

Among the pests and diseases of the chayote , this was not known. The bladder is a disease that affects the fruit both on the plant and after being harvested. This disease is caused by two different fungi:

Micovellosiella cucurbiticola : Produces watery pustules on the fruit.

Micovellosiella lantana : Produces small dry-looking pustules on the fruit.

These fungi appear in humid areas, they are linked to very rainy seasons, seasons that do not occur in Spain, where rainfall is not so continuous. Likewise, to prevent the appearance of this disease, it is advisable to keep the soil well drained, for this you can always sow in ridges if your soil is very clayey and you are in an area of ​​high rainfall.

2.3. Chayote white freckle

This disease, caused by the fungus Ascochyta phaseolorum , produces small , sunken-looking white spots on the fruits, which causes their commercial rejection. It also attacks stems and leaves causing brown spots. To combat it, it is advisable to use cultural measures to prevent its appearance before using fungicides.

Among these cultural measures I highlight increasing the distance between plants to be able to observe and eliminate the affected specimens and always use healthy fruits for planting.

I hope that with these tips we can prevent the appearance of problems in our chayoteras . Finally I leave this video here for you to take a look.

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