Today we will discuss the pests and diseases of moringa plants. Moringa or the Drumstick is a popular healthy vegetable. It is a bean-like pod that grows on a 15-30 feet high softwood tree. You can read my previous post to Grow Moringa tree. Almost every single part of a moringa tree is useful. Its leaves, flowers, and fruits (pods) are edible and highly nutritious. Even the roots have traditional medicinal uses. The Moringa seeds are also used for brewing non-edible Moringa oil. This oil has several medicinal as well as industrial uses.
The usefulness of this tree has somehow contributed to the increased pest and disease problem. Moringa plants are now grown worldwide in different soil and climatic conditions. This change has eventually exposed the plant to more pests. Also, the overall change in climatic conditions has worsened the problem.
Moringa Olivera is more prone to bud rot, fruit rot, stem rot, root rot, twig canker, and fruit deformation. These diseases happen mostly due to pests like Podfly, budworms, hairy caterpillars, red mites, fruit borers, Aphids, and fruitflies.
Moringa Plant is susceptible to garden pests and diseases although this does not mean that they can’t be cured. Precaution is better than cure and if it does not work then get ready with some serious pest control measures. Keep reading for details…
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Is Moringa Prone To Common Garden Pests and Diseases?
Yes, indeed just like any flowering or fruiting plant, Moringa plants are also prone to common garden pests and diseases. They are susceptible to changing climatic conditions. The rise in temperature results in the growth of many insects and pests. They need food therefore they target an easy to harm the Moringa plant.
A Moringa tree can grow tall up to 30 feet. It looks big and strong Although the tree lacks essential physical strength. Even mature moringa tree does not have any hard outer bark. It forms a soft bark that is prone to many pests.
Lack of physical strength does not mean that the tree itself is helpless against pests and diseases. It can deal with mild pests attacks on its own. The natural defense mechanism of this plant is sufficient to keep bugs and pests away and also help it to recover quickly after any damage.
The real problem occurs when pest or disease problems become severe along with bad soil or climatic conditions. The Moringa plant does not like too much water so a rainy day is not good for the tree. The plant is more susceptible to pests attacks during the monsoon or rainy season.
Cause of Increase Pests attack on the Moringa tree
There are quite a few reasons that can increase pest attacks on a Moringa tree. This can happen with the most fruitful and healthy moringa tree. The impact of Pest attacks mostly depends on the ability of the plant to defend itself. The Moringa plants become vulnerable to pest attack during-
- Unfavorable climatic conditions especially during heavy rain. Hot Dry summer days can also harm the moringa plant yet they are not likely to increase pest attacks. Most common garden pests don’t like the hot dry season. They always prefer cool, moist, dark spots to feed and breed. These conditions are more common on cloudy or rainy days.
- Change of location can also increase pest attacks on Moringa. Plants grown in new cultivation areas other than their native environment are more prone to pest attack. They may have to face new pests and insects in these areas to which they are not immune. They will adapt to new conditions although this may take a few years. Until then these plants may require extra care and protection against pest attacks.
- Crowded Growing area is also responsible for an increase in pest attacks. Moringa trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide in diameter. Therefore if two or more trees grow alongside each other at less than 10 feet distance then they can increase pest growth.
- Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for the increase in pests and diseases in Moringa plants. Too much water in any way is harmful to the plants. It does not matter whether you or nature itself pours the water. If it’s too much then you may face increased pest attacks on Moringa.
12 Common Moringa Plant Pests
- Budworm: noorda Moringae
- Hairy Caterpillar: Eupterote Molliefera
- Pod fly: Gitona Distigma
- Bark Caterpillar: Indarbela tetraonis
- Leaf Caterpillar: Noorda Blitealis
- Fruit Flies
- Other than These You may find-
- Beetle grubs in Soil
- Nematodes in Soil
- Aphids on tender new leaves
- Red Mites on Leaves and Intranodes
- Mealybugs only on new plants during cloudy days
Caterpillars of any type are easy to identify. Most of them have hairy covering and yet some may sting on touch. So don’t pick one with bare hands unless you are sure of it. Their sting can bruise the asking and it may itch for more than a week. Some caterpillars especially the bark and leaf caterpillar are light green to brown in color. Others may have stripes on abdominal sections. Altogether they are not good for the Moringa or Drumstick tree. Their eggs look like tiny semi-transparent balls on the underside of leaves and buds. Once you find them get rid of them as soon as possible. Use garden gloves for manual picking of hairy caterpillars.
Aphids on the other hand are tiny bugs of just 1/8 inch in size. They feed on plant sap and attack mostly soft leases and new branch tips. They are transparent to light green or brown in color. Aphids love the moist and dark environment and are not very difficult to treat during summer. Just keep the plant dry and clean.
Red mites are attracted to the tender leaves and new branches. They leave trails behind after damage. It only requires proper cleanliness and the use of some general-purpose pesticides to treat red mites.
Both Nematodes and Beetles grubs can damage the root system of a moringa tree. Beetle grubs are visible and they feed directly on roots. They chew the root system causing nutrition scarcity in the whole plant. On the other hand, a nematode is a tiny worm that causes the root-knot problem. The infected plant is more likely to die before you even notice the symptoms.
Diseases of Moringa Plants
- Root Rot
- Stem Rot
- Bud Rot
- Flower Drop
- Powdery Mildew
- Twig Canker
- Bacterial Infection
- Viral Diseases
In addition to these, some Moringa plants can show genetic diseases carried on from their parents.
Most of these diseases are either caused by infected gardening tools or carried on by any vector. Garden pests like aphids and mealybugs can carry fungal spores and viruses from infected plants to the healthy moringa tree. Therefore pest control is the best way to defend a moringa plant against any disease. If the problem persists then act accordingly with plant disease treatment methods. How to Save Pansies From Bugs and Insects?
Bud, stem, or fruit rot is clearly visible on the plants. It may start as a small dark patch on the surface and spread outward leaving the dead central region. The rotting problem in moringa can happen due to fungal or viral infections.
If it is a fungal infection and a little care and active fungal treatment can save the plant. Otherwise, viral infections are mostly incurable. A diseased plant is simply dead or will die in a few days. The best option is to remove the infected plant and start with a new one in a separate healthy spot.
Shunt growth, flower, fruit or leaf drop, curled leaves, deformed branch tips, and fruits with a bad structure are all signs of diseases. The formation of dark dead patches on the bark and stem is the next stage to diseases infestation in moringa trees.
Old moringa trees are more prone to pests and diseases. Therefore cultivators always replace old plants with new healthy ones after 5-8 years.
How to Avoid Pests and Diseases in Moringa?
- Start with treating the soil with fungicides once in 4 months. It will prevent any soil-borne fungal disease.
- Avoid overwatering that can cause root rot. Excess moisture in the soil is not good for any plant. It can attract a lot of pests to the plant.
- Maintain at least 10-12 feet distance between two adjacent Moringa trees in the garden. Crowded trees may lack proper airflow which can cause fungal infection.
- Always keep the area clean by weeding and raking the soil once in while. Don’t allow too much organic matter to accumulate near the tree base. It can increase pest growth and cause many problems.
- Don’t forget to prune the old branches to half of their base by the season end. Moringa only fruits well in new branches. Old branches may fruit but their quality and quantity will degrade. Heavy pruning after summer can allow the tree to regrow before spring. This can reduce pest growth during monsoon after the summer and winter seasons.
General Care and Pest Treatment of Moringa Tree
- Spray the Moringa plants properly with general-purpose pesticides once before flowering. Let new buds form and repeat again after 25 days.
- It may require final pest control during fruit formation.
- You can also use neem oil spray for moringa plants in containers. It may need twice or thrice applications every week to treat the pests problem completely. If the problem does not resolve then use pesticide as a final measure.
- Install bug traps and introduce predators wasps and ladybugs to deal with peats naturally. Birds can also keep the caterpillars in check if not then use a jet spray to drop the bugs off to the ground. At last collect and get rid of all those worms and caterpillars.
- Precaution and prevention is always the best way to control pests and diseases. You can rely on cleanliness, deadheading, and pruning method to keep the moringa plant healthy.
This is all about pests and Diseases of Moringa Plants. Write your queries in the comment box below.