Southern Pea (Blackeye, Cowpea)

Ashy Stem Blight (fungus – Macrophomina phaseolina): Plants die quickly. Lower stem is gray with internal black flecking of tissue. Most serious when mature plants come under moisture stress. Same as charcoal rot. See the section on charcoal rot.

Bacterial Blight (bacterium – Xanthomonas vignicola): This disease appears as tan to brown angular leaf spots with yellow margins on leaves, pods, and stems. It may cause severe defoliation during periods of high humidity. See section on bacterial blight of bean.

Cotton Root Rot (fungus – Phymatotrichum omnivorum): See Page on Cotton Root Rot.

Curly Top – See Page on Curly Top.

Marginal Yellowing and Burning of Leaves (physiological): In sandy soils of East Texas, this may result from potassium deficiency in the soil. Other causes may be drouth, low pH, or any factor interfering with normal root functions.

Mosaic (virus): Several viruses produce a mosaic pattern on peas. These viruses may be found singularly or in combination with others. They cause irregular light and dark green mosaic patterns in the leaves (See Photo). Some viruses cause thickened, malformed leaves similar in appearance to damage caused by hormone herbicides. The mosaic patterns are best observed on the younger foliage. Plants may be stunted and fail to produce normal pods. It is best to plant healthy, disease-free seed rather than saving seed from a crop that showed infection. The pinkeye purplehull variety is highly susceptible to Blackeye Cowpea Mosaic Virus (BlCMV). This virus can be seed borne and is common where pinkeye purplehull is grown. (See Photo) Resistant purplehull varieties include Pinkeye Purplehull BVR, Mopod and Texas Pinkeye. Crowder type peas have shown good resistance to BlCMV. See variety listing at end of section.

Leaf Spots (fungi – Cercospora sp., Aristastoma sp., Ascochyta sp., Colletotrichum sp., Stagnospora sp.): Various sized spots often yellowish in color or with a yellow halo, others brown to purplish; these normally develop first on lower leaves (See Photo). With Cercospora leafspot a dark, moldy growth develops on the lower leaf surface opposite the spot. Leafspot diseases are most serious during periods of prolonged moist weather and on late summer or early fall plantings. Severe leaf spotting results in defoliation with subsequent yield reductions. Practice crop rotation; avoid cultivating fields when foliage is wet.

Pod Blight (fungus – Choanephora cucurbitarum): Pods and the stalk supporting the pods become watersoaked. A whiskery-type fungal growth develops on the affected tissue, which usually begins at the point of pod attachment (See Photo). Disease is associated with high humidity and possibly insect feeding. Rotate and destroy crop residue.

Powdery Mildew (fungus – Erysiphe polygoni): Symptoms consist of a light, grayish, powdery growth on the leaves, pods and occasionally the stems. This powdery growth is easily rubbed off. When the disease is severe, plants turn yellow and defoliate. Generally, powdery mildew does not damage early planted peas. It can, however, be quite destructive on a fall or late summer crop.

Root Knot (nematode – Meloidogyne sp.): Relatively small galls or knots develop on roots of affected plants. Don’t confuse root knot galls with naturally occurring bacterial galls that are beneficial. See the section on root knot nematode for more information. Resistant or tolerant varieties are available.

Rust (fungus – Uromyces vignae): Small, reddish-brown pustules appear on both upper and lower leaf surfaces (See Photo). Rust can develop rapidly, resulting in severe leaf damage and defoliation. Check current clearances of fungicides effective in controlling rust. Sulfur may be used.

Seedling Disease (fungi – Rhizoctonia sp., Phythium sp., Fusarium sp.): Seed may rot and young seedlings die. The condition is most common on early plantings or when soil contains a large amount of nondecomposed plant residue. Treat seed with an approved fungicide. Avoid planting in wet, cold soils.

Southern Blight (fungus – Sclerotium rolfsii): See Page on Southern Blight.

Wilt (fungus – Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. tracheiphilum): The lower leaves turn yellow and fall. Death may be rapid after wilting is noted. Woody tissue in the lower stem is dark brown due to fungal invasion. Wilt is frequently associated with root knot nematode infestations. Control wilt by planting tolerant varieties. Avoid deep cultivation that may injure roots and increase wilt incidence.

Variety Resistance

Southern Pea (Blackeye, Cowpea)
Variety and type* Bacterial Blight Root Knot Cercospora Leaf Spot Fusarium Wilt Blackeye Cowpea Mosaic Virus
Erectset (cream) R R - - -
Mississippi Cream (cream) - R - - -
White Acre BVR (cream) - - - R
Zipper Cream (cream) - R - - -
Colossus-90 (crowder) - R R - -
Mississippi Silver (crowder) - R - R -
Mississippi Purple (crowder) R R - R -
Magnolia Blackeye (blackeye) - R - - -
California Blackeye No. 5 (blackeye) - R - - -
Pinkeye Purplehull-BVR (blackeye) - - - - R
Mopod (blackeye) - - - - R
Texas Pinkeye (blackeye) - R - - R

* Types – crowder, cream, and blackeye. Pod color and seed color are not always as indicated.

R= Resistant or Tolerant* There are many Southern Pea varieties not in this listing. Always consider yield potential when selecting varieties for specific geographical areas of the state.

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