What is a Disease?

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What is a Disease?

Diseases affect Plants too!


What is a Disease?

A disease is a condition caused by tiny organisms which hamper the growth and development of a plant. A diseased plant does not produce in the way it should (both in terms of quantity and quality) and can die prematurely.


Plant Diseases
Most plant diseases are caused by:
• Bacteria
• Fungi
• Nematodes
• Viruses


Disease Organisms Affect Plants:
• By producing toxins
• By depriving the plant of food
• By occupying space (nematodes)
• By blocking water


Diseases are Transmitted
Pathogens that cause diseases are spread by:
• Wind
• Pests
• Water
• Humans
• Animals and Birds
• Contaminated equipment
• Infected planting materials
• Soil splash
• Plant to plant by physical contact


Symptoms of Diseases

  • Wilting (Partial or the entire plant- bacterial wilting). This
    can be confused with inadequate watering. A plant that wilts
    due to lack of water will recover when watered (temporary
    wilting). Plants infected with bacterial wilt will not
    permanently recover.
  • Discoloration (yellowing; mottling- colored spots, chlorosis) may be caused by viruses.
  • Water-soaked areas may be caused by fungi.
  • Abscesses (anthracnose- sinking of fruit; rotting of fruit)
    maybe caused by bacteria or fungi.
  • Unnatural Growth- narrowing of leaf blades; curling and
    crinkling of leaves and shoots, root galls.
  • Fuzzy growth, caused by bacteria.
  • Leaf spots caused by bacteria or fungi


Other things that may mimic disease symptoms include:
1. Fertilizer burn
2. Pesticide burn
3. Spay drift (herbicide)
4. Nutrient deficiency symptoms can mimic some disease symptoms.
Example; Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency (large, dry brown, or black and often depressed leathery area at the blossom end of the fruit).

Blossom-end rot is a physiological disorder, not a disease.


For more information on Pests and Diseases that occur in the Home Garden please visit the Ministry of Agriculture Land and Fisheries Website and download or print our Pest and Disease Manual for Home Gardening.https://agriculture.gov.tt/…/management-pests-diseases-hom…/


Video- Disease Management



Information courtesy the Extension Training and Information Services (ETIS) Division

Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries

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