GCC, UGA Extension: Watch for Target Spot, Areolate Mildew

Clint Thompson Cotton

By Clint Thompson

The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) and University of Georgia (UGA) Extension caution growers about the potential for an increase in diseases, especially as more rain impacts the Southeast.

Photo by UGA Extension: Shows target spot on cotton leaves.

Bob Kemerait, UGA Extension plant pathologist, highlights a pair of diseases producers should be wary of – target spot and areolate mildew.

“Prior to this change in weather we’ve had in South Georgia and the rains that came, I was thinking we wouldn’t have to worry too much about target spot or maybe even areolate mildew this year. But I’ll be honest with you, since the change in weather, the growth of the crop and the moisture we have, we are seeing target spot more and more. It’s only a matter of time before areolate mildew gets here,” Kemerait said.

Important Diseases

Target spot (Corynespora cassiicola) and areolate mildew (Ramulariopsis gossyppii) are the two most important diseases affecting cotton in Georgia later in the growing season, according to UGA Extension. Kemerait emphasizes that the most important factor with both diseases is for growers to be aware and pay attention. Timeliness with fungicide applications is vital to the farmer’s success.

Photo by UGA Extension: Shows areolate mildew on top of a cotton leaf.

“Where is Extension saying it is? Are you finding them in your fields? Timeliness is absolutely critical. Recognize for target spot between the first week of bloom and sixth week of bloom, consider, do you need a fungicide application because conditions are perfect for it?” Kemerait said.

“For areolate mildew, if you are within a month of defoliation, then don’t worry about it. But if you’ve got more than a month to go for defoliation and areolate mildew is in your neighborhood, recognize that you can and you will make profit by timely fungicide applications.”