WSU Extension


Cantaloupe, Melons : Verticillium wilt
(revision date: 6/3/2014)

Verticillium wilt is caused by a fungus which can persist in the soil for many years. It has a broad host range, including many vegetables (potato and tomato are favored hosts), woody and herbaceous ornamentals, fruit trees, and weeds. Typically, the fungus attacks the roots and moves throughout the plant via the vascular system. Symptoms may not be noticed until plants are stressed. Leaves wilt and develop yellow, V-shaped areas along the margins. Affected leaves die. The wilt progresses upward through the plant and may kill entire vines. Discoloration of the vascular system is noticeable when cuts are made into stems near the base of the plant. Cool soil temperatures favor disease development.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Do not follow potato or tomato with melons or other wilt-susceptible plants in crop rotations.
  • When possible, delay planting until the soil is warm.
  • Clean up plant debris in the garden. Destroy or discard (do not compost) diseased materials.
  • No resistant or tolerant watermelon cultivars are available.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Verticillium wilt on pumpkin leaves
Photo by: D.A. Inglis
Caption: Verticillium wilt on squash
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Verticillium wilt sclerotia
Photo by: D.A. Inglis