The eggplants can be small to medium size when brown spots appear. Then the spots grow larger and the fruit falls to the ground. You might ask, "What is the problem?"
Quite simply, the fruit is rotting due to a fungus disease called phomopsis blight. It is fairly common in a wet environment and is caused by the fungus Phomopsis vexans. Splashing rain spreads this disease. Hot, wet weather increases the problem.
In addition to the fruit, leaves and stems can also be attacked along with a dying of seedlings. Severely infected leaves turn yellow and wither. Stems and branches may develop dry, brown, cracked and sunken cankers.
Fruit injury begins as a pale, sunken, oval area on the surface. The area will enlarge and become depressed. With one lesion or several spots coalescing, large portions of the fruit will eventually decay.
· In areas of high rainfall, planting resistant varieties, if available, is the best control measure.
· The phomopsis fungus will survive between crops in plant debris in the soil. Remove and destroy crop residues. It is recommended to wait three years before replanting eggplant, or related crops, in the same area.
· Spacing the plants farther apart to allow for better air movement and quicker drying of the plant may help reduce severity of the disease.
· Weed control is also advisable since the pathogen can survive on solanaceous weeds such as nightshades.
· Lastly, applying a copper based fungicide may help reduce spread of the disease.