Turnip Leaf Bacterial Leaf Spot: Learn more about Turnip Leaf Bacteria

It can be difficult to discover the roots of the sudden appearance of spots on the crop foliage. Bacterial turnip patch is one of the easiest diseases to diagnose because it does not actually mimic any of the more common fungal diseases. Turnips with bacterial leaf spot reduce the health of the plant but do not usually kill it. There are several preventive techniques and treatments available in case spots appear on turnip foliage.

Recognize turnip leaf bacterial stain

The turnip bacterial spot begins to appear on the upper surfaces of the leaves. It is not very obvious at first, but as the disease progresses it is fairly easy to detect. If left unchecked, turnip leaves will defoliate the plant and reduce its vigour, which may also reduce turnip production.

The first signs will be on the upper surface of the leaves, usually at the edges. These appear as small black holes and irregular circles with yellowish halos

around the veins. On the underside of the leaf, water-soaked brown spots develop. The small spots merge into larger olive-green lesions that turn into paper and still show the characteristic halos. The centres of the irregular spots may fall off.

The easiest way to tell if it is a fungal or bacterial problem is to examine the spots with a magnifying glass. If no fruiting bodies are seen, the problem is probably bacterial.

What causes the green turnip spot?

The culprit of the bacterial leaf spot is Xanthomonas campestris and it is lodged in the seeds. It is important to try to obtain disease-free seed to prevent the spread of this bacterial disease, which will then live in the soil for a short period of time. The bacterium can infect many types of crops and even ornamental plants. It also lives for a short period of time on contaminated field material, plant material and in the soil.

Equipment and water splashes quickly spread the bacteria throughout the field. Warm, wet conditions favour the spread of the disease. You can prevent turnips from developing bacterial leaf spots by limiting the amount of time the foliage is wetted. This can be done by drip irrigation or by watering early enough in the day to allow the sun to dry the foliage.

Treatment of spots on turnip foliage

Bacterial leaf spot on turnips has no dew and no treatment indicated. It can be minimized through good sanitation practices, crop rotation and minimizing wild cruciferous hosts in the area where the turnips are planted.

Copper and sulphur-based sprays may have some beneficial effects. A mixture of baking soda, a little vegetable oil and dish soap, combined with a gallon (4.5 L.) of water, makes an organic spray to control not only bacterial but also fungal and some insect problems.

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