Purple Top

Leaves of infected plants turn purple and curl. Infected plants may die early.

General Information:

Symptoms of purple top include curled and discolored leaves, axial bud growth resulting in a bushy plant, swollen nodes, and sometimes aerial tubers.

Causal Agent:

The Columbia Basin Purple Top Phytoplasma (a.k.a. BLTVA).

Biology:

The purple top phytoplasma lives inside its beet leafhopper insect vector and can infect many plant species including potato, tomato, and various weeds. Early-season transmission is most likely to impact yield and/or crop quality.

Management:

Monitor beet leafhopper populations in your area (see below and this page for more details on insect trapping). In areas of high risk, the only clear management strategy is well-timed insecticide applications aimed at migrating beet leafhoppers.