North Carolina grows peanut on more than 100,000 acres in the light, sandy soils of the Coastal Plain. The state is a major producer of virginia-type peanut, which is used for in-the-shell, cocktail, and gourmet peanuts. The crop is planted in May and harvested from late September to mid-October.
Peanut diseases occur throughout the growing season, requiring grower vigilance from planting to harvest. Seedling diseases can cause devastating losses if not prevented, while leaf spots can completely defoliate plants and are the major focus of disease control efforts. Because peanut produces its pods underground, it is particularly vulnerable to diseases that attack pods and stems, such as southern stem rot and Sclerotinia blight. Cylindrocladium black rot (CBR) and nematodes attack roots as well as pods. The tomato spotted wilt virus affects all parts of the plant and is vectored by thrips.
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:
- Peanut Information (Peanut Production Guide)
- Peanut Disease Advisories
- Peanut Decision Aid
- NC Agricultural Chemicals Manual
Disease fact sheets