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NC State Extension


healthy peanuts

A field of healthy peanuts

Peanuts are unique members of the pea family (legumes) that produce their pods underground. Peanut is grown on more than 100,000 acres in North Carolina. The state is a major producer of virginia-type varieties, which are sold as in-the-shell and cocktail peanuts. Light, well-drained soils of the Coastal Plain are ideal for peanut production. In North Carolina, peanuts are planted in May and are harvested from late September to mid-October.

Peanut diseases occur throughout the growing season, requiring grower vigilance from planting to harvest. Leaf spots can completely defoliate plants and are the major focus of disease control efforts. Southern stem rot, Sclerotinia blight, Cylindrocladium black rot (CBR), and nematodes attack roots, stems, and pods. The tomato spotted wilt virus is vectored by thrips and affects all parts of the plant.

Rotation and host resistance form the foundation of peanut disease control. Tillage, plant spacing, fertility, and planting date also affect peanut disease development. Integration of these approaches can reduce losses and the need for crop protection chemicals. Growers can use scouting and weather-based disease advisories to further minimize the number of sprays applied to the crop.

Plant pathologists at NC State work closely with peanut breeders, agronomists, entomologists, and weed scientists to integrate the latest research findings into practical, sustainable strategies for peanut health management.

Peanut disease information:

Some additional web sites:

More information about disease in peanuts is available from the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic or Barbara Shew.

Disease fact sheets

Peanut Disease Photos

Cylindrocladium black rot of peanut

Early leaf spot of peanut

Sclerotinia blight of peanut

Southern stem rot of peanut