Durian Diseases and Pests: How to Prevent? - Top Fruits

Durian Diseases and Pests: How to Prevent?

Durian Diseases & Pests: How to Prevent?

By Top Fruits Team | May 2, 2024

Effective durian disease management is the cornerstone of successful durian farming. Neglecting this aspect could lead to severe damage of the fruits and trees, resulting in costly losses and disruptions to durian production.

From the menace of wild civets and squirrels to the insidious threats of leaf spot and white root diseases, there is no shortage of pests and diseases which pose significant risks to your plantation.

With that in mind, this Top Fruits guide provides insight from experts with decades of experience in managing durian diseases. We’ll discuss strategies to protect your durian plantation against these common threats.

We’ve also incorporated the vast amount of studies on durian diseases conducted in recent years. The ultimate goal of the researchers being: to discover efficient disease identification methods and to uncover better treatments.

What are the major durian diseases and pests?

The first step of solving your issue is understanding and identifying the pest or disease affecting your durian plantation. Thus, this section will dive deeper into major durian diseases and pests in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.

Durian Pests

As durian plantations are usually located near forests, wild animals pose a major threat to durian planting and production. Wild boars, civets, and monkeys are widely known to eat or destroy durian fruits and trees.

Studies further found that rodents are a problem as well, with squirrels causing notable fruit loss in certain plantations and rats damaging fruits placed in storage.

In terms of insects, these pests can impact various parts of the tree, including the fruits, flowers, leaves, and trunks. The insects cause severe infestation by laying eggs on or consuming the plant, ultimately harming the growth of durian trees.

A few common insects include:

  • Fruit borer (Conogethes punctiferalis, Mudaria magniplaga) – The insect lays eggs on the durian fruit it infests.
  • Mealy bugs (Pseudococcus sp.) – The insect appears to be ‘white dust’ on plants, due to the substance covering its whole body.
  • Stem borer (Batocera sp, Xyleutes sp) – The insect lays eggs (covered with a ‘net’) on the surface of the durian skin. Upon hatching, the larvae will make a hole in the skin and enter the fruit.

Durian Diseases

Similar to pests, durian diseases can attack all parts of the durian tree. As shown in the table below, common symptoms include peculiar colors, spots, or structures forming on the plant parts.

Here is a detailed list of durian diseases:



Algal diseases
  • Caused by Cephaleuros virescens.

  • Symptoms are orange, rust coloured velutinous spots on the upper surface of leaves, twigs, and branches.
  • Anthracnose
  • Caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides.

  • Symptoms are dark lesions on fruit, premature fruit drop, and twig dieback.
  • Rhizoctonia leaf blight
  • Caused by Rhizoctonia solani.

  • Symptoms are water-soaked spots on leaves that merge to form larger, irregular, water-soaked patches. These patches then dry into light brown necrotic lesions.
  • Phomopsis leaf spot
  • Caused by Diplodia theobromae and C. gloeosporioides.

  • Symptoms are dark brown necrotic spots with yellow halos.
  • Postharvest fruit rot
  • Caused by Phyllosticta sp., Curvularia era- grostidis, Phytophthora palmivora.

  • Symptoms are irregular necrotic patches in different shades of brown.
  • Pythium root rot
  • Caused by Pythium vexans.

  • Symptoms are decay of primary roots and dieback of branches in a section of the tree.
  • Sooty mold and black mildew
  • Caused by Black Mildew fungi.

  • Symptoms are hard-lumpy crust forming on twigs and leaf petioles, and spongy crust forming on the surface of fruits.
  • Upas mushroom / Pink disease
  • Caused by Corticium salmonicolor or Erythricium salmonicolor.

  • Symptoms are pinkish-white mycelial threads that cover branches and shoots.

  • White root
  • Caused by Rigidoporus lignosus.

  • Symptoms are foliage wilting, yellowing and browning leaves, and shriveled leaves.
  • Durian Diseases Caused by Phytophtora palmivora



    Fruit rotsHere are a few symptoms:
  • Watery patches on leaves or fruits dry, darken, and fuse into larger necrotic patches.

  • Lesions with a white cottony substance on the surface.

  • Premature fruit drop.

  • Bad odor.
  • Leaf blight
  • Symptoms are brown, water-soaked spots on the surface of leaves.
  • Patch / stem canker
  • Symptoms are exudation of a watery gum-like substance from lesions on the tree. This lesion may spread and cover the whole trunk.
  • Root rot
  • Symptoms are the roots turn brown and soft.
  • Stem rot
  • Stem canker can spread to large branches if the conditions are overly rainy and humid.
  • Twig dieback / Leaf discoloration
  • Dieback of branches with yellowing leaves.

  • Note : Although not a disease, this is a potential sign of a Phytophthora infection.
  • Durian Diseases and Pests Management

    Once you’ve identified the problem, the next step is solving the root of the issue. Thus, this section is divided into two key parts: preparation of the plantation site to protect against wild animals, and treatment and prevention of durian diseases.

    Preparation of the Durian Plantation Site

    To combat larger pests such as squirrels, rats, monkeys, and birds – farmers typically install structures, equipment, and bait around the site and trees.

    We highly recommend taking into account wildlife preservation and conservation efforts by local authorities and NGOs when protecting your site against these animals. This will ensure compliance with wildlife conservation laws and reduce potential impact on surrounding biodiversity.

    Here are several popular methods:

    • Fences – Installed around the durian plantation to prevent animals from entering.
    • Netting – Placed under the trees to catch the fruits and keep them out of the animal’s reach. This netting also plays an essential part in the durian harvesting process by ensuring the fruit has little to no damage from falling.
    • Metal Shields or Sheets – Wrapped around the base of the tree to prevent squirrels (e.g. Callosciurus notatus species) from climbing up.
    • Poison Baits – Placed around the plantation to mainly tackle rodents. However, there is rising concern with the use of this method, which can poison non-target wildlife (i.e. species not intended to be affected by the pesticide or poison).
    • Agricultural Mobile Applications / Systems – Detects and drives away wild animals from the plantation. Although still a work-in-progress, these mobile apps with image recognition abilities promise an added layer of security for durian farmers (Yusoff & Kamarudin, 2022).

    Treatment and Prevention of Durian Diseases 

    As shown in the table below, the treatment for durian diseases mainly encompasses (1) implementing proper plantation sanitation, (2) removing infected parts to prevent disease spread, and (3) treating the disease itself with pesticides.

    Here is a detailed list of treatment and prevention methods for pest infestations:


    Treatment & Prevention

    Fruit borer
  • Use the fruit borer’s natural enemy: Venturia sp, Tachinidae, Apanteles tirathabae flies.

  • Collect and burn infected fruit.

  • Use Deltamethrin pesticides for fruit healing.
  • Mealybugs
  • Maintain garden sanitation (remove weeds and other host plants).

  • Spray the tree with the insecticide (with active ingredient Lambda Cyhalothrin or Deltamethrin).
  • Stem borer
  • Maintain proper sanitation of the durian plantation.

  • Immediately cut and destroy infected stems, branches, and twigs.
  • Here is a detailed list of treatment and prevention methods for diseases


    Treatment & Prevention

  • Maintain trees in a vigorous state (proper fertilization, irrigation, good weed control).

  • Remove diseased twigs and shoots.

  • Spray fungicides (with active ingredient Mancozeb or copper-based).
  • Algal diseases
  • Maintain trees in a vigorous state (proper fertilization, irrigation, good weed control).

  • Remove infested shoots and leaves.

  • Use an algaecide or copper-based fungicide.

  • Rhizoctonia leaf blight
  • Use pasteurized soil (in the nursery).

  • Avoid overcrowding and excessive watering (in the nursery).

  • Use foliar sprays or soil drenches (e.g., pencycuron, benomyl, carbendazim, phanate methyl and triadimefon).

  • Remove and burn infected shoots and foliage.

  • Practice good weed control.
  • Phomopsis leaf spot
  • Avoid this disease by thinning the spacing.

  • Remove infected branches.

  • Spray fungicides (containing active copper).
  • Postharvest fruit rot
  • More frequent fruit picking (2 to 3 times a day).

  • Brush off dirt right away after picking.

  • Install netting beneath the tree to reduce fruit damage from falling and fruit rot.

  • Remove infected plant parts and spray fruits with carbendazim before harvest.

  • Use fungicide dip-treatments after harvest.
  • Pythium root rot
  • Maintain trees in a vigorous state (proper fertilization, irrigation, good weed control).

  • Plant on raised mounds.

  • Use mulches.

  • Use metalaxyl drenches of soil.

  • Use pasteurized potting mix amended with the species of Trichoderma - helps control the disease in nursery.
  • Sooty mold and black mildew

  • Control the insects that produce honeydew.

  • Reduce humidity and increase air circulation in orchards through: wider tree spacing, good weed control, and pruning of intertwining branches.

  • Upas mushroom / Pink disease

  • Use a spacing of 10 x 10m.

  • Regularly clear the land and prune branches.

  • Spray fungicides (with active ingredient Mankozeb).
  • White root
  • Use healthy seeds.

  • Repair and maintain drainage channels.

  • Maintain the land (ensure it’s not wet, good weed control).

  • Remove and dispose of diseased host plants immediately.

  • Use fungicides.
  • Disease

    Treatment and Prevention

  • Patch / stem canker

  • Stem rot

  • Twig dieback

  • Root rot

  • Leaf blight

  • Fruit rots
  • Use large planting material (LPM) resistant clones.

  • Source planting material from certified distributors.

  • Implement good drainage.

  • Plant on raised mounds.

  • Construct drainage channels to ensure excess water can be drained.

  • Use a spacing of 10 x 10m apart for medium-sized canopy varieties, or 10 x 10m for spreading canopy varieties.

  • Prune the lowest branches.

  • Use organic fertilizer.

  • Adjust the pH of acidic soils pH of 5.5 - 6.5 by applying lime.

  • Avoid mechanical damage to the stems.

  • Install netting beneath the tree to reduce damage from falling.

  • Remove, collect, and burn diseased fruits and branches.

  • Apply Trichoderma harzianum to the soil surface.

  • Use appropriate chemicals (e.g., fungicides).
  • Note: For pesticides, follow the recommended dosage on the packaging.

    As each plantation has its own unique needs, the best prevention and treatment methods may vary among plantations. Consult durian disease management experts for more customized and in-depth solutions.

    Procedures for Monitoring Durian Disease

    There are various methods to monitor durian diseases, ranging from inspecting the durian fruits and trees visually, to planting ‘indicator plants’ next to them, to advanced automated disease identification systems.

    Here are a few traditional or manual methods:

    There are various methods to monitor durian diseases, ranging from inspecting the durian fruits and trees visually, to planting ‘indicator plants’ next to them, to advanced automated disease identification systems.

    Here are a few traditional or manual methods:



    Visual InspectionVisually assessing the crops for signs of disease.
    Scouting by field observers

    Systematically inspecting fields for signs of disease (by trained personnel)
    Disease severity rating scalesUsing a numerical score system to track the progression of the disease.
    Weather-based disease forecastingUsing weather data to foresee disease outbreaks.
    Lab testingCollecting plant or soil samples to be analyzed in a laboratory for disease presence.
    Neighboring farm communicationsCommunicating any disease outbreaks or observations with nearby farms.
    Indicator plantsPlanting vulnerable species next to valuable crops, using them as indicators of disease presence.

    However, as pointed out by Daud et al. (2023) these manual methods have their weaknesses. Methods such as visual inspection and scouting by observers are time consuming, labor-intensive, and prone to inaccuracies.

    Similarly, methods such as lab testing and indicator plants may not provide early enough disease detection for durian farmers to treat and prevent the spread of diseases.

    With that, researchers have suggested the use of machine learning and pattern recognition technologies. This could reduce the dependence on durian experts to identify diseases, and increase durian production and quality.

    Here are a few highlights of modern or automated methods proposed in recent years:



    Vision Transformers (Daud et al., 2023)An automated system which can identify durian leaf diseases, was made using deep learning techniques and models like ViT. This system achieved an accuracy of 94.12%.

    The Naïve Bayes Method (Nugraha et al., 2021)A durian disease diagnosis system was made using the Naïve Bayes method. The system was able to successfully identify the durian disease based on the symptoms entered into the system. This system achieved an accuracy of 82%.

    Unsure whether to take the next step in durian production? Learn all about the industry in our article on Why Durian Cultivation is Malaysia’s Next Big Investment.


    In conclusion, infestations of durian pests and diseases can be prevented and treated. Durian farmers must implement a robust system to execute proper plantation care and protect their durian fruits and trees.

    Furthermore, it’s important to stay informed of durian diseases and updated with the latest findings in agricultural technology. This will ensure efficient and increased levels of durian production.

    Need a helping hand? Consult our team of durian experts at Top Fruits. We provide comprehensive guidance and assistance in managing your plantation needs.

    Learn About Durian Disease Management With Top Fruits

    With more than 30 years in the durian industry, Top Fruits is a leading durian supplier, durian plantation, and durian consultation company Malaysia.

    Our team received The Star Export Excellence Awards in 2022 for meeting high standards of quality and authenticity in durian production.

    We have supplied durians across Malaysia, to Asian countries such as Hong Kong and China, and are the first Malaysian company to penetrate the African market.

    With the goal of helping local durian businesses achieve their full potential, we provide durian consultation services which offer customized solutions and valuable networking opportunities for your durian business.

    Partner with Top Fruits today!


    What are common diseases which attack the durian tree?

    Common diseases that attack the durian tree include anthracnose, leaf spot, Pythium root rot, white root, postharvest fruit rots, leaf blight, and diseases caused by Phytophthora (e.g., fruit rots, stem canker, and root rot).

    Learn more about causes and symptoms of durian diseases in this section.

    Which disease affects durian fruits only?

    Phytophthora fruit rot is a disease which affects durian fruits only. This fungus-like organism can also cause root rot and stem rot in the durian tree.

    How do you control durian disease?

    Controlling durian disease involves several measures such as:

    • Implementing proper sanitation practices
    • Maintaining good orchard hygiene
    • Regular monitoring for symptoms
    • Pruning infected parts
    • Using disease-resistant varieties
    • Applying appropriate fungicides or pesticides
    • Managing environmental factors such as irrigation and drainage

    Learn more in this section.

    How do you treat Phytophthora in durian?

    Phytophthora in durian can be treated by:

    • Improving soil drainage
    • Avoiding overwatering
    • Removing and destroying infected plants or plant parts
    • Applying appropriate fungicides
    • Preventing water logging and reducing humidity levels

    Learn more in this section.


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