Bacterial leaf spot of ornamentals and vegetables
Bacterial leaf spot can be caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas cichorii. It was recorded for the first time in Victoria in 2008 on Gerbera.
P. cichorii also causes zonate leaf spot of cabbage and varnish spot of lettuce. Note that other bacterial genera and species can cause similar symptoms to P. cichorii.
Bacterial leaf spot caused by P. cichorii tends to be a problem for:
- gerbera during warm weather with periods of heavy rain or where overhead watering is practised
- lettuce during cool temperatures when grown under overhead irrigation
- cabbage during overhead irrigation or wet and windy weather
The bacterium P. cichorii can infect a wide range of hosts, including:
Symptoms of bacterial leaf spot of Gerbera
The following symptoms can indicate leaf spot of Gerbera:
- large black, roughly circular, zonate spots concentrated on leaves at the base of the plant (the spots often begin at the leaf margin but can also occur randomly)
- spots that are soft when tissue is wet, but sunken and brittle when leaves are dry
- the bacterium can move from the leaf through the petiole and into the stem, resulting in canker
- the sepals of infected flower buds can turn brown to black in colour and up to several inches of pedicel may be killed
Symptoms of varnish spot of lettuce
The following symptoms may be found, usually on lettuce with enclosed heads:
- removal of wrapper leave reveals shiny, brown and firm spots
- spots may start several millimetres in size but can merge and expand and may eventually cover the entire leaf
Symptoms of zonate leaf spot on cabbage
The following symptoms can indicate zonate bacterial leaf spot of cabbage:
- brown, water-soaked, roughly circular, zonate spots develop on leaves.
- the zonate spots can occur on the inner leaves of the cabbage
Managing bacterial leaf spot
Key management practices include:
- planting pathogen-free seed and plants or resistant varieties
- employing good sanitation
- avoid handling plants when they are wet
- avoiding overhead head irrigation during the evening and night
- for hydroponic systems, use registered chemicals to control the bacterium in water
- rogue out infected plants
Reporting an unusual pest or disease of plants or honey bees
Report any unusual plant pest or disease immediately using our online reporting system or by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1 800 084 881. Early reporting increases the chance of effective control and eradication.
Please take good quality photos of the pests or damage to include in your report where possible, as this is essential for rapid pest and disease diagnosis and response. For tips on how to take a good photo, visit the Cesar Australia photo for identification guide.
Your report will be responded to by an experienced staff member who will seek information about the detection and explain next steps, which may include a site visit and sampling to confirm the pest or disease.Report online
Miller JW, Knauss JF (1974) Bacterial blight of gerbera daisy. Plant Pathology Circular No. 139.
Koike ST, Gladders P, Paulus AO (2007) Vegetable Diseases, A colour handbook. Manson Publishing 448pp.