Georgia: Cotton Blue Disease – What We Know

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

In the fall of 2018, Cotton Leafroll Dwarf Virus (CLRDV) was confirmed to infect cotton in 14 South Georgia counties. This virus is vectored by aphids and associated with Blue Cotton Disease (CBD) which causes symptoms of including leaf curling, reddening and drooping of leaves, subsequent distortion of leaf growth above the nodes where reddened leaves were first observed, and shortening of upper internodes and their discoloration to deep green along with subsequent lack of fruit retention.

Although the virus could be found widespread across Georgia in the fall of 2018, there were very few, if any, documented cases of yield losses in Georgia cotton fields which could be associated with CBD. The UGA Cotton Team has and is working diligently to obtain as much information as we can and to help inform producers of what we know.

At this point, the impact from this virus to the 2019 Georgia cotton crop cannot be scientifically determined, but we have found CLRDV in ratooned cotton stalks from 2018 and in henbit over the past couple of weeks. So, there may be two ways for us to potentially limit our exposure by trying to remove cotton stalks from 2018 and by controlling winter weeds well in advance of planting. Both of these approaches are already endorsed and encouraged practices anyway and they may ultimately be helpful in breaking the green bridge for the virus.

If you have any questions on this or other issues, feel free to contact your local UGA county extension agent and visit the UGA Cotton Webpage.


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