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blight,general term for any sudden and severe plant disease or for the agent that causes it. The term is now applied chiefly to diseases caused by bacteria (e.g., bean blights and fire blight of fruit trees), viruses (e.g., soybean bud blight), fungi (e.g., chestnut blight), and protists (e.g., potato blight). Other plant afflictions (caused by insects or unfavorable climatic conditions) that display similar symptoms are also called blights. See diseases of plantsdiseases of plants.
Most plant diseases are caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Although the term disease is usually used only for the destruction of live plants, the action of dry rot and the rotting of harvested crops in storage or transport is similar to the rots
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an injury to a plant caused by intense sunlight or contrasting temperatures. Blights also include diseases caused by certain fungi, for example, Monilia cinerea, and by bacteria, for example, Bacterium amylovorum; such blights are infectious. Injuries caused by the incorrect use of pesticides are often called blights.
Blights result in the withering of parts of the bark, shoots, leaves, and flowers. They often kill plants. Coating tree trunks and thick branches with milk of lime is recommended for the control of sun and heat blights. Infectious blights can be controlled through the use of insecticides, fungicides, or bactericides and by pruning and burning affected plant parts. The instructions for the use of pesticides must be carefully followed to prevent the pesticides from blighting the plants.