Mosaic Virus Control

Mosaic Virus Control & Treatment


Mosaic Virus is a viral disease found in many gardens throughout the United States. The disease may be difficult to detect as symptoms look similar to several nutrient deficiencies.
HOST PLANTS: Mosaic Virus infects roses, tulips, beets, plums, tobacco, beans, peppers, and cucumbers.

SYMPTOMS: Mosaic virus damage first appears in the form of green leaves which look as if they are mottle or distorted. Often these leaves will also be curled upward, or appear as if their growth has been stunted. Typically these leaves will have yellowish spot on them, adding to their mottled appearance. If cucumber fruits are affected they will vary in color from light green to dark green mottled areas and some which pale to white. Affected areas of the curcurbit family plants may also be covered with warts or alternately the skins may be have faded and be very white and smooth.

Mosaic virus overwinters on a variety of plants including debris from curcurbit family plants which was not cleared from the garden, as well as catnip, pokeweed, motherwort, milkweed and wild cucumber plants. Aphids and cucumber beetles spread the disease as they feed going from infected plant to healthy plant. The prevalence of these insects once they have infested a garden can be damaging on it's own, not to mention when these insects are spreading mosaic virus. The earlier in the season the disease is spread, the more plants will have severe damage from mosaic virus. Although mosaic virus can eventually kill off the curcurbit family plants, the main affect of this virus on the crop is that plants fruits will taste bitter, and therefore be inedible. However, it is good to know that plants which are infected after the fruit is already half grown typically do not turn out bitter.

MOSAIC VIRUS CONTROL: There are no cures for viral diseases such as mosaic once a plant is infected. As a result, every effort should be made to prevent the disease from entering your garden. Choose resistant cultivars when available and spot treat with natural pest controls, such as insecticidal soap, to reduce the number of disease carrying insects. Floating row covers will keep pests off vulnerable crops and should be used until bloom. Remove all perennial weeds, using least-toxic herbicides, within at least 100 yards of your garden area. Avoid working in the garden during damp conditions (viruses are easily spread when plants are wet). Remove and destroy all infected plants.

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