The melon-like papaya fruit grows from seeds mostly in warm, tropical climates. With the proper soil selection and care, the papaya plant can produce an abundance of fruit. By contrast, however, overwatering and poor soil drainage can cause deadly papaya diseases like root rotting. Among the additional culprits include necrosis, ringspot, and leaf spot, as well as anthracnose. Some other diseases that attack the papaya include blight and powdery mildew.
Papaya plants must be properly watered according to instructions; otherwise, too much water can lead to root rot. This condition quickly kills the papaya fruit because of the lack of drainage at the planting site. Poor water drainage cuts off oxygen to the plant and it also causes fungi to form, causing more damage to the papaya. One way to avoid root rot disease would be to plant papaya seeds in raised planting beds or in garden spaces with better water drainage.
Improper plant care also leads to other papaya diseases such as necrosis. Also known as papaya apical necrosis, this virus causes the plant's leaves to droop and cup downward, turning yellow or brown. The papaya disease starts with the leaves and stems, then progresses until the papaya plant dies. The virus disappears once a gardener destroys and removes the papaya plant, according to experts.
Another papaya-related virus, ringspot, occurs from lack of plant care. Key symptoms include yellowing of the leaves, followed by dark-green streaks. Dark-green C-shapes and circles also form on the papaya fruit when infected by the virus. Planting techniques, such as grafting, increase the risk of ringspot to the papaya. Isolating the plant can get rid of the ringspot problem.
Corynespora leaf spot is a disease caused by a fungus. The papaya disease appears mostly on the leaves and male flower stalks of the plant, rather than the fruit. The fungus is identified by brown and yellow spots, along with spores that appear on the leaves. Gardening experts recommend applying fungicide to the affected papaya to eradicate the disease.
Anthracnose is another one of the papaya diseases that derives from a fungus. This particular condition affects the fruit as opposed to the flower stalks and leaves. Symptoms of anthracnose start with water-soaked spots that appear on the papaya fruit. The spots may grow, turn brown or black, and then sink into the fruit and damage the pulp. Fungicide applied to the papaya plant treats anthracnose, especially in the disease’s early stages.
Phytophthora blight is considered among the deadliest of papaya diseases. Caused by heavy wind and rain, this fungus often causes wilting, stem and root rot, as well as root and fruit infection. Signs of phytophthora blight include water-soaked lesions in the branches and fruit, followed by browning and rapid deterioration of the entire papaya plant. The lesions often turn white on the fruit, causing shriveling. Like the other fungus-based papaya diseases, phytophthora blight can be tamed by using fungicide sprays.