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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Early and Late Leaf Spot on Groundnut

late leaf spot (Cercosporidium personatum), Early leaf spot (Cercospora arachidicola)
Sierra Leone

Recognize the problem

Cercospora leaf spot disease is a disease caused by fungi on leaves of groundnut. It is a major problem, although traditional farmers in Sierra Leone consider spots on groundnut as signs of maturity. In most cases, farmers find it difficult to clearly differentiate between symptoms of early and late leaf spot of groundnut. Brown lesions (spots), usually surrounded by a yellow colour on the upper side of leaves, are the most common symptom of early leaf spot. Dark brown lesions (spots), usually on the underside of affected leaves, are the most common symptom of late leaf spot. It is important to determine if late leaf spot is present since it can be difficult to control.


The agents that cause leaf spot to occur are fungi. Sources of primary infection are infected seeds, alternate hosts and infected debris. Sick plants produce low yield compared to healthy ones.


Control of leaf spot of groundnut is not easy. The following methods can help control the problem:
  • Plant improved groundnut varieties (samnut 22 and 23) for more vigorous plants
  • Use correct planting density (50 cm x 30 cm or 50 cm x 40 cm)
  • Mix crops of groundnut with maize or sorghum
  • Remove weeds at 3 and 6 weeks after planting
  • Plough and harrow to cover crop residues with soil after harvest and to destroy fungus in the soil
  • Rotate groundnut crop with cowpea and maize
  • Remove heavily infected plants to prevent spread of the fungus
  • Remove infected leaves to prevent further spread of the fungus
  • Destroy diseased debris and avoid excessive irrigation
  • Spray fungicides such as cupric oxide (WHO class II) or Mancozeb (100ml/14 litres of water) in the field

When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Sierra Leone

Authors: Patrick Ndoleh, Samuel J. Luseni, Sheku Max Kanteh, I. M.O. Shamie, Foday M. Koroma, Gershon J.S. Dimoh
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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