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Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) remains the most economically important agronomic crop in North Carolina, which ranks first in US tobacco production. In 2004, 159,000 acres were produced yielding about 352 million pounds. Two types of tobacco are produced, differentiated by their genetics, growth characteristics, agronomic practices, uses, and location within the state. Flue-cured tobacco accounts for all but about 9 million acres of the state’s crop and is grown in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain areas. Leaves are pulled from the stalk as they ripen and cured in barns using heat. Burley tobacco, grown in the mountains, is harvested by cutting the stalk and curing it without heat.

Diseases are major limiting factors of production for both types of tobacco. Flue-cured disease losses generally range from one to two percent statewide, not including costs of control. However, losses in individual counties range up to 25% and total losses occur in some fields. Recently, the most economically important diseases have been caused by viruses, soil-borne fungi, and soil-borne bacteria. The most important burley diseases are blue mold, soil-borne fungal diseases, and aphid-transmitted viruses. Blue mold, an air-borne downy mildew, frequently destroys over one third of the NC burley tobacco crop.

Some additional web sites:

More information about disease in tobacco is available from the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic or Asimina Mila.

Disease factsheets

Bacterial wilt of tobacco   NCSU Factsheet

Blue mold of tobacco NCSU Factsheet

Collar rot in tobacco greenhouses NCSU Factsheet

Disease management in tobacco greenhouses NCSU Factsheet

Pythium root rot in tobacco greenhouses NCSU Factsheet

Pythium stem rot of tobacco in the field NCSU Factsheet

Rhizoctonia diseases in tobacco greenhouses NCSU Factsheet

Tobacco mosaic virus NCSU Factsheet

Tomato spotted wilt virus in tobacco NCSU Factsheet

Granville wilt NCSU Factsheet

Brown spot NCSU Factsheet

Black shank NCSU Factsheet

Written By

Photo of Dr. Lina Quesada-OcampoDr. Lina Quesada-OcampoAssistant Professor, Plant Pathology (Cucurbits and Sweetpotato) (919) 513-3530 lina_quesada@ncsu.eduEntomology and Plant Pathology - NC State University

Contributing Specialist

Photo of Dr. Mina MilaDr. Mina MilaExtension Tobacco Specialist and Associate Professor (919) 513-1291 asimina_mila@ncsu.eduEntomology and Plant Pathology - NC State University
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