Yellow spots on leaves, deformed growth, rotted roots. All can spell disaster for the gardener anticipating a bountiful basket of tasty produce at harvest.

But a handy book that will fit in a pocket could help growers get a handle on key diseases before they cut into yields, according to lead author Dr. Joe Masabni, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist at College Station.

“The pocket guide is an idea I’ve had for a while,” Masabni said. “I thought it would be a useful tool to carry in a pocket, with photos and specific information on the most common diseases of the most common fruit and vegetable crops in Texas.”

Masabni said the pocket guide is designed for growers, home gardeners and Master Gardeners – anyone who attempts to raise vegetables, whether in pots or on larger acreages.

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The durable, 3×4-inch spiral-bound guide has photos of diseased plants along with easy-to-read information in English and Spanish on the name of the disease, cause, symptoms and control. There are more than 100 pages describing 50 diseases on 14 commonly grown fruits and vegetables.

The guide can be ordered at the AgriLife Bookstore,, for $10.

Users will learn what to look for and how to control disease problems on numerous vegetables, including beans, cantaloupe, sweet corn, cucumber, mustard greens, okra, onion, black-eyed peas, peppers, Irish potatoes, spinach, squash, tomatoes and watermelon, Masabni noted.

Masabni collaborated with Dr. Thomas Isakeit, AgriLife Extension plant pathologist in College Station, whose expertise on plant disease yielded the photographs depicting the most common diseases. Isakeit’s graduate student, David Laughlin, translated the information into Spanish.

The guide was published by a grant from Texas A&M AgriLife Communications.

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