How to Protect Spinach from Peronospora and Stemphylium

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Defend your leafy crops from fungi and disease with resistant genetics 

Characterized by green, luscious leaves, spinach needs to maintain that tell-tale appearance from the field to the grocery store. When pests attack this nutrient-dense crop, quality can go out the window – along with yield potential. 

“We’ve worked with growers to identify the biggest challenges for spinach growers today,” said Yoann Barrier, Salads Portfolio Manager, Syngenta Leafy and Brassicas. “Right now, there are less and less solutions available to control pests in fields. That's why we look for resistant varieties with the highest resistance against fungus and disease.” 

Fungi and bacteria pests can be devastating in spinach fields. Two of the most damaging pests are Peronospora and Stemphylium. 

Peronospora symptoms include: 

  • Dull to bright yellow spots on leaves that can enlarge and become tan and dry over time.

  • The underside of the leaf can reveal purple growth from the fungus and in more severe infections, leaves can curl and distort. 

Stemphylium is characterized by: 

  • Leaves with small circular to oval, gray-green spots.

  • As the disease progresses, the spots enlarge (still keeping the circular to oval shape) and turn tan in color before drying out.

  • This bacteria does not showcase any purpling or other fungal growth because it is not a fungal infection. 

Whether it’s Peronospora or Stemphylium, the imperfections caused by pests in spinach fields can hurt plants' ability to photo synthesize, decrease yield quality, and diminish overall yield potential. It’s important to find genetics that contain resistance to these key spinach pests. 

“We have resistances in all of our commercial varieties today to Peronospora and Stemphylium and are continuing to research as new races emerge,” Barrier explained. “We are really happy to be able to provide this high level of resistance for our growers to offer them a level of security in field production.” 

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