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Pests & Diseases - Peas

Pea wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi)

Pea wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi)

  • Plants appear stunted and may become discoloured before shrivelling and dying.
  • Wilt is a soil-borne disease which can occur in any pea growing area.
  • It is generally confined to fields with a very long history of peas and may occur in patches or individual plants.
  • It can cause substantial reductions in yield, but is effectively controlled by genetic resistance.
  • See PGRO Pulse Agronomy Guide.
Downy mildew (Peronospora viciae)

Downy mildew (Peronospora viciae)

  • Individual or small groups of plants appear stunted or pale.
  • Gray velvety fungal growth develops on the underside of leaves.
  • This disease produces resting spores, which persist in the soil and initiate primary infections in young pea plants.
  • Secondary infections develop in cool, damp conditions.
  • Pods develop yellow patches on the surface and a cottony growth on the inner pod wall.
  • See Technical Update TU33 and the PGRO Pulse Agronomy Guide and Vining Pea Growers Guide for varietal resistance.
Leaf and pod spots (Ascochyta pisi, Mycosphaerella pinodes and Phoma medicaginis)

Leaf and pod spots (Ascochyta pisi, Mycosphaerella pinodes and Phoma medicaginis)

  • A. pisi produces brown to grey rounded lesions with pin-prick sized fruiting bodies (pycnidia).
  • M. pinodes produces numerous purple-black small lesions on stems and foliage. Lower stem may become black.
  • P. medicaginis produces smaller dark lesions and black stem girdling.
  • Leaf and pod spots are spread by seed infection, soil or plant debris.
  • The most frequent is M. pinodes, which can cause losses in both yield and quality in wet conditions.
  • The use of disease-free seed will help to reduce the incidence of disease.
  • See Technical Updates TU33 and TU12.
Botrytis, or grey mould (Botrytis cinerea)

Botrytis, or grey mould (Botrytis cinerea)

  • Botrytis produces brown, watery rot with a grey furry mould.
  • This can affect stems and pods during wet weather.
  • It is initiated when petals stick to plant parts after pod set.
  • See Technical Update TU12.
Powdery mildew (Erysiphe pisi)

Powdery mildew (Erysiphe pisi)

  • Powdery mildew is characterised by irregular areas of powdery white fungal growth on the upper leaf surface and pods.
  • The disease can delay maturity.
  • The disease can adversely affect the flavour of processed peas.
  • See Technical Update TU12 and the PGRO Vining Pea Growers Guide.
Foot and root rots (Fusarium solani f. sp. pisi, Phoma medicaginis var. pinodella)

Foot and root rots (Fusarium solani f. sp. pisi, Phoma medicaginis var. pinodella)


  • The diseases produce areas of pale discolouration, stunted plants and yield reduction.
  • Plants can be brown or black at soil level.
  • Roots are often brown.
  • The effects of these diseases are particularly common on heavy land with a history of frequent pea cropping.
  • A predictive soil test is available from PGRO.
Sclerotinia, or white mould (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)

Sclerotinia, or white mould (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)

  • S. sclerotiorum causes a stem rot rather than a foot rot.
  • Dense, white mycelium cover stems and pods.
  • Stems collapse in a watery soft rot.
  • Infected stems and pods may contain black, elongated resting bodies.
  • The disease affects peas, spring beans, oilseed rape, linseed, and sometimes potatoes and certain field vegetables.
  • See Technical Update TU12.
Bacterial blight (Pseudomonas syringae pv. pisi)

Bacterial blight (Pseudomonas syringae pv. pisi)

  • This is a potentially serious seed-borne disease, which can occur on all types of peas.
  • Symptoms consist of water-soaked brown lesions on the lower leaves, stems and stipules.
  • The lesions may coalesce and show a fan shape on the leaf, between the lines of the veins.
  • Some pod spotting may occur.
  • Severe infections have not occurred in spring-sown peas and effect on yield has been negligible.
  • See Technical Update TU32.


Pea and bean weevil (Sitona lineatus)

Pea and bean weevil (Sitona lineatus)

  • The adult is 4-5 mm long with a narrow body, short snout and angled antennae.
  • The larva is white and legless with a brown head.
  • The pest causes damage to spring sown crops if large numbers appear when plants are small.
  • Leaves of attacked plants show characteristic ‘U’ shaped notches around the edges.
  • The main damage occurs as a result of the larvae feeding on the root nodules.
  • See Technical Update TU08.

Field thrips (Thrips angusticeps)

Field thrips (Thrips angusticeps)

  • Field thrips are black, 1-1.5mm in length and are found in enfolded leaflets.
  • They feed on the leaf surface of emerging seedlings.
  • Foliage becomes thickened and puckered.
  • Seedlings may appear pale in colour.
  • In the majority of cases the peas will outgrow the effects of thrips.
  • See Technical Update TU07.
Pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum)

Pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum)

  • Pea aphid adults are 1-2 mm long, bright green, pear shaped with slightly dark legs and have distinctive red eyes.
  • Aphids can cause severe yield loss when feeding in large colonies.
  • Aphid feeding causes growth distortion of foliage and pods, and abortion of flowers.
  • Early infestations can result in crops becoming infected with pea enation mosaic virus.
  • See Technical Update TU05.
Pea moth (Cydia nigricana)

Pea moth (Cydia nigricana)

  • The pea moth has a wing span of 12-15mm, is silvery-brown in colour with indistinct black and white markings on the wing tips.
  • The larva is creamy white, with a brown to black head and is up to 6mm in length.
  • The larvae feed upon the developing seeds within the pod.
  • Yield loss is minimal, but the effect on quality can be dramatic.
  • Damage to the seed reduces the value of the produce.
  • An automatic telephone forecasting service is provided by PGRO on 01780 783099.
  • See Technical Update TU03.
Pea cyst nematode (Heterodera gottingiana)

Pea cyst nematode (Heterodera gottingiana)

  • Affected plants are stunted and pale, and the root systems do not develop nitrogen-fixing nodules, but become studded with white, lemon-shaped cysts.
  • Infestations occur in distinct patches that vary in size.
  • Pea cyst nematode is a very persistent soil-borne pest, often causing severe yield loss.
  • Frequent cropping of peas and Vicia faba beans favours the build-up of infestations.
  • See PGRO Pulse Agronomy Guide.