Managing Butternut Plant Pests And Diseases

Managing Butternut Plant Pests And Diseases

Butternut production industry is growing at a remarkable pace. Farmers usually target the festive season and Easter holidays where demand for butternut is at its peak. However, most farmers face challenges relating to weed managemet. In this article we explore some common butternut weeds and how farmers can deal wit them.

Butternuts belong to the cucurbit family and are grown world wide. The plant is frost sensitive and it grows best under warm weather conditions. Butternut plant has a vine-type appearance which is buttressed by an extensive root system. The male and female flower are separate and they appear at different periods. The female flower develops on shorter stalks which tend to be closer to the stem while the males develop on long stalks. Among the various forms and colours of butternut fruit that exist, the most common is the pear shaped fruit with a tan coloured skin. For optimum fruit development, it is vital that the planted area be kept as weed free as possible so that there is no competition for nutrients.

Weeds tend to take water and nutrients from planted crops. This badly affects overall crop performance between the shooting up to vine development. Weeds attract and hide pests and diseases hence it is critical that as a farmer you maintain a weed free crop either by handpicking or hoeing out the weeds. Chemical application is also encouraged provided resources are available. Weeding of butternuts should be carried out in the second week after planting. Weeds will eventually fadeout as the plant vines and leaves grown and shade out weeds.


Pests Affecting Butternut Growing

Butternut plant is commonly affected by the cucumber beetles which feed on the stems, leaves and the fruit. The pest usually appears when the plant begins to flower and you can see them inside flowers. If left uncontrolled, the pest usually bring Bacteria Wilt and other virus diseases.

The bettles can be easily managed with Nimbecidine which you will spray 15 days after planting.

The Melon Fly and White Fly

This melon and white fly damages the butternut plant by feeding on the stem, leaves and roots. If left uncontrolled the fruit will also be damaged by these pests.

The White fly also carries withit the cucumber mosaic virus. The virus causes poor growth and distorts leaf development.To control these pests you use Asataf which is applied with the use of a knapsack sprayer as soon as you see any of the pest. Spray again after 10 days if yo continue to see the pest.

Crop rotation As Natural Weed And Pest Control Practice

Crop rotation is the planting of different crops each season so as to maintain soil nutrient structure.This also plays a pivotal role in controling farm pest and disease infestation. It helps guard against the building up of pests and diseases which might result from planting the same crop again and again.

It is always encouraged that you consult you agronomist for specific advise on managig your crop. Agronomists will also advise on which crops to incorporate in your crop rotation plan.

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