Dieback disease

  • IASbaba
  • December 29, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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In News: Neem trees has been identified as twig blight and dieback disease in Telangana.


  • Neem is a member of the mahogany family, Meliaceae
  • Neem trees are attractive broad-leaved evergreens that can grow up to 30 m tall and 2.5 m in girth.
  • The roots penetrate the soil deeply
  • When injured, they produce suckers – This suckering tends to be especially prolific in dry localities.
  • It is grown from the southern tip of Kerala to the Himalayan hills, in tropical to subtropical regions, in semiarid to wet tropical regions, and from sea level to about 700 m elevation.
  • Neem trees are strong can take considerable abuse.
  • They can easily withstands pollarding (repeated lopping at heights above about 1.5 m)
  • Neem shows antibacterial, antifungal, and other versatile properties
  • But neem trees are sometimes hit by insect and fundal infestation

Dieback disease:

  • The dieback disease affects leaves, twigs and the inflorescence of neem trees of all ages
  • It causes almost 100% loss of fruit production in severely infected trees
  • The dieback disease is mainly caused by the fungi Phomopsis azadirachtae.
  • The dieback disease was first reported in the country during the 1990s near Dehradun in Uttarakhand, while it was first noticed in Telangana in 2019.
  • The appearance of symptoms starts with the onset of the rainy season and becomes progressively severe in the later part of the rainy season and early winter.

Control measures:

  • The twigs affected by the disease should be cut and a blend of fungicide and insecticide can be sprayed after their removal.
  • Alternatively, a pit should be dug around an affected tree, and water mixed with fungicide and an insecticide should be poured into it.
  • However, the efforts to treat the affected trees should be taken up as a cluster either in a village or in a residential locality in urban areas as the fungus is airborne.
  • Even if treatment is carried out for one tree, the fungus spores from a nearby tree can affect the treated plant again.
  • Spraying chemicals on big trees is a difficult task as it may hit insects like butterflies and also pollute water bodies nearby.

Source: The hindu


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