Friday, July 18, 2008

Preventing Club Root

Club root is a fungus-like mold that causes bulging, malformed roots on vegetables in the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, kale, and turnips). It also infects mustards. Though misshapen roots are the most dramatic symptom, plant leaves may also wilt too easily during the growing season.

Club root prefers damp, acidic soils like ours here in the Northwest. Its spores live a long time, so crop rotation is not very effective in preventing this disease. Though nearly impossible to eradicate entirely, maintaining a well-drained soil with a pH of 7.2 or above does hinder its growth. If you suspect your garden is infected, take advantage of wintertime to raise the pH of your soil by adding agricultural lime (calcium carbonate) to your beds.

Be sure not to infect other parts of your garden. Don't move soil from an infected area to an unaffected area, and disinfect your garden tools regularly with a mild bleach solution. Don't compost infected plants or leave them in the garden – discard them (roots and all) in your regular household trash.

Copyright © 2004 Brian Ballard. All rights reserved.

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