Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Ailing Bell Pepper, Potato Scab, Dry Corn Storage & Bacterial Fruit Blotch


A bell pepper with blossom end rot. Photo: Lori Dupre, Baton Rouge.

Ailing Bell Pepper

Lori in Baton Rouge sent in a clear image and asked, “What causes the problem shown in the picture? This is the second pepper with this issue. The first pepper was looking great and the next day it had a similar spot on the side. Peppers are in a raised bed and watered at the base. [I]] side-dressed with calcium nitrate and dusted with Dipel™.”

Lori’s pepper has the classic symptoms of blossom end rot (BER), a calcium deficiency. Lori has already applied calcium so she can expect her future peppers without BER. Her earlier side-dress was late for this pepper.


A potato with scab. Photo: Silas Cecil, LSU AgCenter.

Potato Scab

Silas Cecil, a 4-H Agent in LaSalle Parish, sent an email with some pictures of Irish potatoes, “The potatoes below were grown in buckets. I am guessing early scab?”

A soil-borne bacterium causes potato scab. Dr. Mary Ferguson, a Horticulture Agent, wrote about potato scab in an article, “While white (‘Irish’) potatoes can grow well in less acidic soils, they are often grown at a lower pH (below pH 5.2) to reduce problems with the disease potato scab.”

A soil test can help with determining the pH, and test results include recommendations for fertility. The solution for high pH is to add a formulation of sulfur to increase soil acidity.


Dried corn stored in a freezer. Photo: Cory Tanner, Clemson Cooperative Extension.

Dry Corn Storage

Tom, near Sugartown, asked, “, I want to store dried corn in five-gallon buckets. How do I keep the weevils out of the corn? It will be for our corn meal.”

Temperature control is the safest, most effective way to avoid weevil infestation. According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, “Dewey Lee, UGA Extension grains agronomist, urges farmers to take advantage of cool nights when the temperature drops to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below. By keeping the grain lower than 50 degrees F, farmers reduce the risk of maize weevils and other insects infesting the harvested grain. At 50 degrees, the maize weevil can no longer move or reproduce.” Cory Tanner with the Clemson Cooperative Extension recommends storing dry garden corn in a freezer.


A watermelon with symptoms of bacterial fruit blotch. Photo: Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter

Bacterial Fruit Blotch

A local watermelon grower showed a watermelon infected with bacterial fruit blotch(BFB) to AHA.Dr. Thomas Isakeit, a plant disease specialist at Texas A&M University, shares these comments about BFB, “Symptoms are most noticeable on mature fruit shortly before harvest. Infected areas (lesions) on the fruit’s rind appear water-soaked or oily. Lesions are usually located on top of the fruit, not where it touches the soil. The lesions are just as firm as unaffected rind, and extend into the rind, but not the meat.”

Dr. Isakeit also discusses how BFB is spread, “Seed is the most important way to spread the BFB pathogen to areas where it has not occurred before.”

Treatments include, “If infected plants are found in the field, apply copper bactericides (for example, Kocide®) weekly at the full rate to prevent spread of the bacteria. If no symptoms are seen, apply bactericide to plants biweekly at the full rate or weekly at half the recommended rate. As a protective measure, apply sprays starting at flowering, earlier if transplants are used. Continue spraying until all fruit are mature.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits, and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or or .

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

7/20/2022 8:07:27 PM
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