Bottle Gourd Pests, Diseases (Lauki), Control

Bottle Gourd Pests.
Bottle Gourd Pests.

Introduction to Bottle gourd pests, disease and control methods: The bottle gourd is a very important vegetable crop in India and it belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. Bottle gourd is also known as lauki, ghia or dudhi in India.  The Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) plant is affected by many more diseases. It occurs almost on all the cultivated cucurbits. The diseases are confined mostly to the plant leaves, although the fruit of infected. Bottle gourd plants may be of poor quality resulting from the loss of foliage.

A step by step guide to Bottle gourd pests, disease and control

The vegetable in green stage and leaves with stem are used as a vegetable and the hard shell of the Bottle Gourd is used for a different purpose. In this article we also discussed below topics;

  • Pests attack in Bottle gourd
  • Diseases of Bottle gourd
  • Protect Bottle gourd from insects
  • Organic pest control in Bottle gourd
  • Growing conditions for Bottle gourd

You can apply this pests and diseases information for growing Bottle gourd in pots, growing Bottle gourd from seed, growing Bottle gourd at home, growing Bottle gourd from seed indoors, growing Bottle gourd on the terrace, growing Bottle gourd in the backyard, growing Bottle gourd in the balcony, growing Bottle gourd outdoors, and growing Bottle gourd in containers.

Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) is an annual, vigorous, climbing vine with large leaves and has white flowers. Bottle gourds come in many shapes and sizes. They are;

  • Round (called calabash)
  • High round
  • Cylindrical
  • Bottle
  • Long

The plant grows quickly and vigorously, spreading over large areas.

Conditions for growing Bottle gourd

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Bottle Gourd Growing Conditions.
Bottle Gourd Growing Conditions.
  • Bottle gourd requires a minimum temperature of 18°C during early growth, but optimal temperatures are in the range of 24 to 27°C. The crop can tolerate low-temperature ranges, but extreme cool temperatures will retard growth and frost will kill the plant.
  • The Bottle gourd plants are adapted to a wide variety of rainfall conditions. Bottle gourd tolerates a wide range of soil but requires a well-drained sandy loam soil that is rich in organic matter. The optimum soil pH level is 6.0 to 6.7, but plants tolerate alkaline soils up to pH 8.0
  • Growing bottle gourd in pot or ground – Bottle gourd can be grown in-ground in the garden or pot. If you plant bottle gourd in a pot, select a wide and deep pot, at least 50 cm diameter, also you can plant a bottle gourd type that grows slowly or remains short.
  • If you have a small place to grow bottle gourd, you can grow it in a pot, spread the vine on trellis or roof. If you are growing Bottle gourd on your terrace, then spread the plant on the fencing (the outer wall on the terrace).
  • When to plant bottle gourd – Bottle gourd is a summer-growing vegetable plant. Raise the seedlings in 4-inch pot indoors (growing vegetables from seeds) or ground by sowing 2 seeds, half-inch deep. And keep the pot moist.
  • Germination of Bottle gourd – The bottle gourd seeds are slow in germination, could take from 7 to 25 days to germinate depending on the soil temperature. You can soak the Bottle gourd seeds in water overnight to speed up germination. Use only the Bottle gourd seeds that go to the bottom of the soaking bowl. When the seeds germinate and the plants grow 2-3 leaves, transplant them to the final place and discard the weaker plants.
  • When each main vine grows to about 6 to 8 feet long, cut off the growing tip. This will force the plant to produce side branches that will produce fruit much sooner, more flowers and fruits.
  • Spray seaweed solution or liquid fertilizer or comfrey tea fertilizer regularly every 3rd week to the plant. The plant can grow to over 15 ft, so they want solid support to climb by the tendrils or trellis along the stem.
  • Bottle gourd fruits are harvested at a tender stage when it grows to one third to half. Fruits attain edible maturity 10 to 12 days after anthesis and judged by pressing on fruit skin and noting pubescence persisting on skin. At edible maturity gourd seeds are soft. Bottle gourd seeds become hard and the flesh turns coarse and dry during aging. And tender fruits with a cylindrical shape are preferred in the market.
  • The time of harvest in bottle gourd is very important. When the bottle gourd begins to change color or becoming yellowish, and it is time to harvest it. You must be able to pierce your nail in it easily. Harvest the Bottle gourd with at least one inch of stem attached. If the fruit becomes hard and you cannot pierce your nails in it, it is over-ripe and not good for cooking but good for decoration purposes. Over-ripe gourds are good for making seeds, which can be used to grow gourds next year.

Bottle gourd pests and diseases

Bottle gourd plants can be attacked by the following pests;

  • Fruit fly
  • Shoot and fruit borer
  • Leaf folder
  • Yellow beetle
  • Spider mites and Aphids
  • Beetles and caterpillars

Bottle gourd diseases are;

  • Anthracnose
  • Damping-off and Nematode
  • Cercospora leaf spot
  • Powdery mildew
  • Downey mildew

Diseases and pests are relatively few in Bottle gourd. Though, to prevent insects from laying eggs in the rind, mosquito netting may be draped over the vines. Then the flowers need insects for pollination, do not cover the plants until after the blossoms have dropped off. The main diseases of Bottle gourd are anthracnose during the wet months and powdery mildew during the dry season.

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Bottle gourd is free from problems, although slugs are fond of young plants. The mature leaves have a distinctive scent as well as being slightly furry, which repels some pests. They are liable to powdery mildew disease in humid summer conditions, with dry roots and warm moist air. If powdery mildew develops, soaking the roots regularly with water and removing the worst affected leaves, as does as seaweed feed to improve the plant’s immune system. Bottle gourd rampant growth squashes all weeds in their path, as well as other more desirable plants, and then keeps them restrained by snipping off tendrils or tying in rigorously every week.

Some of the pests and diseases in Bottle gourd can be given below;

Aphids of Bottle gourd

Aphids collect on the leaves of Bottle gourd plants and suck plant juices from them. These tiny, soft-bodied insects tend to congregate on the undersides of plant leaves. Temperatures between 65 and 80F create a particularly hospitable environment for aphids. Inspect Bottle gourd plants regularly. As aphids feed, they leave behind a sticky sap called ‘honeydew’ that develops sooty mold and then turns black. Wash the plant leaves with cool water to remove the sticky sap. Release lady beetles in the garden to control aphid infestations naturally or use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray on infected plants. Controlling ants will help to control aphids, as ants act as guardians and even carry aphids onto choice feeding grounds like your gourds.

Squash bugs of Bottle gourd

Squash bugs target members of the cucurbit family, by feeding on the fleshy plant leaves. Look for small clusters of brick-red eggs on the underside of the plant leaves for early identification. The adults are very small, flat-backed insects 5/8 of an inch long with grey to brown back and wings. Manage squash bugs by keeping the garden clean and removing the previous year’s gourd plants and any other debris from the area. When you come across these insects in the home garden, destroy them manually. An application of insecticidal soap or neem oil on effected gourd plants can help to control squash bugs.

Whitefly on Bottle gourd plants

Whitefly is no stranger to the vegetable gardener and this tiny insect sucks sap from fleshy garden plants. Large infestations can deplete Bottle gourd plants of sap, leaving behind a sticky residue. Look for an infestation of tiny white insects on the underside of the plant leaves and the sooty black mold that develops on the honeydew left behind during feeding. There are numerous species of whitefly, but Banded winged whitefly commonly attacks gourds and other members of the cucurbit family. In the larval stage, whitefly is wingless and as the insects mature, they turn into a small moth-like insect. Wash plants as necessary to control infestations and remove insects. Placing aluminum foil on the ground under the plants can provide effective control of whitefly infestations.

Fruit fly on Bottle gourd plants

Cover the gourd with polythene or paper bags. Destroy the affected plants.

Powdery mildew of Bottle gourd

Some of the symptoms are;

  • Diseased areas turn brown and dry.
  • Fruits remain underdeveloped.
  • Powdery, whitish, superficial growth on the growing parts, stems and foliage.
  • The growth covers the entire area superficially.

Management

  • Powdery mildew can be mainly controlled by spraying Dinocap 1 ml/lit. Or Carbendazim 0.5 g/lit or Tridemorph l ml/l.
  • Ensure proper air circulation
  • Aerate the soil before sowing

Downy mildew of Bottle gourd

Some of the symptoms are;

  • Owing to the presence of moisture, the corresponding lower surface of the affected plant leaves have a purplish growth.
  • Yellow-colored spots appear on the upper surface of leaves which spread up to the veins. It gets restricted at the veins. This gives the leaf a mosaic appearance.
  • The leaves turn necrotic, yellow and ultimately fall off.

Management

  • Downy mildew can be controlled by spraying Mancozeb or Chlorothalonil 2 g/lit and twice at 10 days interval.
  • While transplanting watermelons ensure that plants are free of the disease.
  • There should be enough air circulation in the crop and the humidity level must be kept in check.
  • Excess irrigation should be avoided- drip irrigation would ensure just enough water in the soil.

Viral diseases of bottle gourd

  • Cucumber mosaic virus
  • Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus
  • Papaya ringspot virus-W
  • Watermelon mosaic virus
  • Zucchini yellow mosaic virus
  • Clover yellow vein virus
  • Chlorotic Curly Stunt

Cucumber mosaic virus of Bottle gourd plants

Some of the symptoms are plants that are severely stunted, foliage is covered in distinctive yellow mosaic leaves curl downwards and leaf size is smaller than normal, flowers on infected plants can be deformed with green petals, and fruits become distorted and are small in size.

Management

  • Removing weeds and diseased gourd plants from fields can reduce the chance of infections. Maintaining clean and sanitized tools, some machines and hands can help.
  • The use of resistant varieties is another way farmers control virus spread.
  • Vector control by using systemic insecticides (Metasystox 0.1%) and resistant cultivars have been developed recently.

Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus of Bottle gourd

Some of the seedlings symptoms are severe infections cotyledons may become yellow but more often symptoms are not seen until the 1st or 2nd leaf stage. Leaf symptoms are mottling and mosaic on leaves, fruit mottling and distortion. Early symptoms contain vein clearing and crumpling on young leaves while mature leaves become bleached and chlorotic. Fruit symptoms can be symptomless, at least externally, or can become severely spotted or streaked and distorted, especially during high temperatures.

Management

Seed treatment methods are;

  • Plant virus-free seed
  • Rouging of infected plants
  • Crop rotation may be applied
  • Resistant varieties have been developed recently.

Bottle gourd organic pest control methods

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Organic Pest Control of Botlle Gourds.
Organic Pest Control of Botlle Gourds.

Once you have identified the troublemakers, you can control them with an assortment of organic pest-control methods in Bottle gourds. The following list contains some methods;

  1. Shoot and fruit borer
  • Remove the affected terminal shoot showing boreholes
  • Remove the affected fruits and destroy
  • Spray Neem oil
  1. Beetles and caterpillars
  • Handpick off the plants
  • Dislodge with jet water spray
  1. Damping-off and Nematode
  • Treat the gourd seeds with Trichoderma viride or Pseudomonas fluorescens 24 hours before sowing
  • Apply Pseudomonas fluorescens as soil application
  • Avoid water stagnation
  1. Spider mites and Aphids
  • Spray homemade garlic and insecticidal soap solution
  1. Leaf spot
  • Remove the affected plants in the early stages to control this pest
  1. Fruit fly
  • Remove the affected fruits and destroy them.
  1. Downey mildew
  • Prune plants to improve air circulation
  • Water in the morning then plants have a chance to dry during the day
  1. Powdery mildew
  • Mix about 1 part milk with 9 parts water and spray the stems and tops of leaves with the solution. Reapply after rain.
  • Spraying leaves with baking soda (1 teaspoon in 1-quart water) raise the pH level, creating an inhospitable environment for powdery mildew.

Conclusion:

Controlling pests in bottle gourd plants will yield good quality of gourds. This pests and disease control information may be applied even if you are growing bottle gourd in backyard, growing bottle gourd in pots or containers, growing bottle gourd indoors, growing bottle gourd in poluhouse or greenhouse, growing bottle gourd on roof or terrace, and grwoing bottle gourd in apartment balcony. You may be interested in Low-cost Agriculture Business Ideas for Beginners.

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