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Clubroot Disease of Brassicas

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Fresh Brussels sprout for sale at a farm in We...

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Clubroot is the most debigating disease to affect all members of the brassica family including Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese and swede. This virulent fungal disease persists in the soil for many years (spores can lay dormant for over twenty years). Clubroot is frequently a major predicament on old allotment sites and kitchen gardens which have been cultivated for many years. There is no known cure, but by adopting the following strategies decent crops may still be generated.

Recognizing the Presence of Clubroot

Infected plants wilt during hot days and develop stunted red to purple tops.When lifted the roots will be swollen and club-like. In bad infestations the stench from the roots can be horrendous.

How Clubroot disease stretchs

Clubroot stretchs through the soil water and on footwear and garden tools.

How to Reduce the Severity of Clubroot

Despite there being no cure preparations can be taken to reduce the severity of the damage cautilized:-

  • Improving the drainage of heavy soil by making raised beds and incorporating organic matter in the form of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure helps massively.
  • Raising the pH to 7.0 or 7.5 by applying garden lime and thereby making the soil more alkaline is another worthwhile tactic. Putting two good handfuls of lime into each hole and watering the hole before planting may lessen the impact of this disease.
  • Growing seedlings in 9cm (in any case this big) pots of sterilized compost (growing medium) means a strong root system is in place at planting-out time, this make sures the plants are mature before the disease gets a grip.
  • Some gardeners go to the trouble and expense of taking out a large hole for each plant and replacing this with sterilized loam every time they plant their brassicas.

Brassicas Which are Resistant to Clubroot

The development of some brassicas which show resistance to this virulent fungal disease is the most considerable breakthrough in the battle to combat the debilitating effects of clubroot. Resistant strains include the following:-

  • Swede ‘Invitation’
  • Calabrese ‘Trixie’
  • Cabbage ‘Kilaxy F1’ and the larger Cabbage ‘Kilaton F1’ are both high yielding autumn/winter ballhead varieties of cabbage which show fantastic resistance to clubroot.
  • Cauliflower ‘Clapton F1’ matures in summer and autumn producing large white heads. Plants show a very high resistance to clubroot.
  • Brussels Sprout ‘Crispus F1’ is the latest addition to the clubroot resistant brassica stable. If it proves to be as good as the cabbage and cauliflower resistant varieties its future is assured.

Learn to Live With Clubroot

Where clubroot disease is gift in the soil it can not be get rid ofd, but the gardener by making raised beds to recover the drainage, applying organic matter as well as lime to raise the pH, and raising young plants in pots is able to reduce its impact and grow affordable crops. The development of more resistant varieties for all categories of brassicas holds out real hope for vegetable growers everywhere.

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