Class: Man-made injuries
Common Name: Phytotoxicity
Potential Host:

All crops

In Short:

Phytotoxicity occurs when a substance causes a toxic effect on plants. For an elaborate discussion, refer to our blog post.

Phytotoxicity can occur when chemicals are applied, such as in foliar spraying and irrigation systems, in order to protect plants from diseases, pests and other hazards. Additionally, phytotoxicity can occur following applications of fertilizers or growth regulators.


*Improper use: Applying off label brands, overdosing plants with chemicals, and applying concentrations that are too high.

*Timing: Applications took place in unfavorable environmental conditions, such as the temperature was too hot.

Phytotoxicity symptoms vary significantly between different crops and substances. However, the symptoms will usually include:

A rapid, sweeping change to most plants in the field in the form of deformed or distorted plant parts (especially newer foliage) and necrosis usually seen on the tips or margins of leaves.

Control Measures

There are no control measures; therefore, the focus should be on prevention.

*Names marked in red are considered to be highly poisonous to beneficial insects.

*Names marked in green are considered to be organic and IPM (integrated pest management) compatible.

Caution and careful notice should be taken when using any plant protection products (insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides). It is the grower’s sole responsibility to keep track of the legal uses and permissions with respect to the laws in their country and destination markets. Always read the instructions written on labels, and in a case of contradiction, work in accordance to the product label. Keep in mind that information written on the label usually applies to local markets. Pest control products intended for organic farming are generally considered to be less effective in comparison to conventional products. When dealing with organic, biologic, and to some extent a small number of conventional chemical products, a complete eradication of a pest or disease will often require several iterations of a specific treatment or combination of treatments.

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