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Any of various plant diseases whose symptoms include sudden and severe yellowing, browning, spotting, withering, or dying of leaves, flowers, fruit, stems, or the entire plant. Usually the shoots and other young, rapidly growing tissues of a plant are attacked. Most blights are caused by bacteria or fungi (seefungus); some result from drought. Fungal and bacterial blights are most likely under cool, moist conditions. Most economically important plants are susceptible to one or more blights. Measures taken to fight blight include destroying the infected plant parts; using disease-free seed or stock and resistant varieties; rotating crops (seecrop rotation); pruning and spacing plants for better air circulation; controlling pests that carry the fungus from plant to plant; avoiding overhead watering and working among wet plants; and, where needed, applying fungicides or antibiotics. Maintaining sanitary conditions is the most important measure for stopping the spread of the infestation. See alsochestnut blight.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on blight, visit Britannica.com.