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Capsicums, also commonly called peppers in North America, are plants that are prone to several different types of diseases. Some of the elements that cause disease in these plants include types of fungi, bacteria and viruses. Most of the diseases that affect capsicum plants show their presence in such symptoms as rot, wilting, browning and spots. Some of them, including fungal diseases, may be visible as a type of mold or fuzz on the plant or its roots. A few of the most common capsicum diseases include powdery mildew, bacterial spot, bacterial rot and the pepper mottle virus.
There are also a number of pests that can destroy the plants as well as the peppers, which are actually the capsicum fruits. Aphids, nematodes, caterpillars and mites are some of the capsicum pests that can damage and kill plants through the act of feeding on them. Some capsicum diseases are actually spread from plant to plant by pests. The pepper mottle virus, for instance, can be spread by aphids that carry it from infected weeds.
Three basic types of fungal capsicum diseases attack the roots of peppers and other plants when the ground stays too wet. When the soil stays cool, Pythium can grow and cause the roots to brown and rot. In warmer temperatures, Rhizoctonia can grow and cause brown soft spots where the plant emerges from the soil. Additionally, Phytophthora can grow on the roots and the lower stem, turning the plants brown and causing root rot.
Fungal diseases that typically attack the plant and capsicum fruits include different types of mold and mildew, which are usually visible as spots and patches on the plants and peppers. Most of these fungal diseases can affect a wide variety of crops. Fungal diseases are difficult to treat, and some of them cannot be killed once they appear on the plants. In those cases, the plants may have to be removed while the soil is treated to kill the disease.
Viral and bacterial capsicum diseases do not generally have visible signs such as mold, but appear in symptoms as the plants wither, brown and die. These can be spread by pests, hands, gardening tools and even infected seeds. Bacterial spot, bacterial rot, mottle viruses and several kinds of tomato viruses are some of the more common bacterial and viral capsicum diseases. These diseases cannot usually be cured, and can damage and destroy everything from small garden plots to large crops.