It seems like this year will be challenging for pest control on vegetables. Please see the message below from Gene McAvoy, County Extension Director in Hendry County, FL.
Dr Pam Roberts reports a new find of rust on eggplant in SW Florida.
Rust detected on eggplant (Solanum melongena) in Southwest Florida Pamela D. Roberts, Katherine Hendricks, and Mark Verbeck 3/3/2012
Lesions were detected on the top of eggplant leaves that were roughly circular, with a yellow halo and a dark center. Lesions on the undersides of the leaves were similar except they were a bit smaller and contained pustule, cup-like structure with erupting yellow to orange spores.
Microscopic examination revealed that the individual structures (aecia) contained spores (aeciospores). Spores were red-orange in color and round to ovoid.
A rust disease caused by Puccinia sp. was described on eggplant in Georgia in 1997. Eggplant was the aecial host for the rust pathogen of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum). We suspect this is the same rust and will follow with additional testing.
In this outbreak, nearly every eggplant in a 10 acre field was affected. Plants are mature and have been harvested 2 to 3 times. No symptoms occurred on fruit.
To see pictures of the disease and read more about, please visit Eggplant Rust Alert.