How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Curly top

The curly top virus has a very large host range that includes many weeds and vegetables such as tomato, potato, and pepper. It is transmitted by the beet leafhopper, which harbors the virus and is capable of transmitting it for its entire life.  Plants infected with the curly top virus show a striking down-cupping, puckering, and wrinkling of infected leaves. The leaves become thick and brittle and may turn dark green. Portions between two joints on the stem of infected plants become shortened, resulting in a striking dwarfing and stunting of infected plants, particularly when plants are infected at an early stage of growth. Older plants may turn yellow and die. The upper portion of infected plants resembles a rosette or small flower bouquet. Fruit are small and remain upright instead of drooping. Infected fruit have a dull surface unlike the glossy skin of normal fruit.

Life cycle

Solutions

Plant varieties that are resistant or tolerant to the curly top virus if curly top is in your area. Control of leafhoppers with insecticides will not reduce the incidence of disease.

Stunted cantaloupe plant infected with curly top (lower right) compared with healthy plant

Stunted cantaloupe plant infected with curly top (lower right) compared with healthy plant

Early ripening of curly top on tomato

Early ripening of curly top on tomato

Curled and wrinkled leaves of curly top

Curled and wrinkled leaves of curly top on beans

Stunted tomato plant infected with curly top

Stunted tomato plant infected with curly top

 

 

 


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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