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Clubroot is a serious disease that can affect crops from the brassica family. It is a fungal (although more correctly known as a slime mould) infection which attacks the plant through the soil via its root hairs. In a short period of time this will lead to massive swelling, distortion and severely retarded growth. Worst still, the fungus produces cysts that will remain in the soil until a suitable host comes available to re-infect, starting the cycle again. The biggest problem is that these cysts can live in the soil for up to 20 years and are easily spread. In fact, just walking from an infected area onto a clean patch of land will infect your soil. Be aware that club root disease will also easily contaminate your soil if it is brought in on infected plants, so do not accept brassica seedlings where the source is not known to be clean.
Clubroot can infect whenever the soil is moist and warm, so be aware that most new infections will tend to occur from mid-summer until late autumn.
Symptoms of Club Root
The first sign is a characteristic wilting of your plants, especially in dry weather. These infected plants will fail to develop properly and often the crop will fail. As mentioned before, by examining the roots you will notice unusual distortions and swellings.
Control of Club Root
The first thing that you should know is that – at least in Great Britain – there is no available chemical control for Club Root, so if you do have clubroot in your soil then you are going to be stuck with it. Even so, it is still possible to grow brassica crops successfully with some careful cultivation techniques.
Of course, the most sensible solution is to plant clubroot resistant brassica seeds!
Clubroot Resistant Varieties
Brussels sprouts ‘Crispus’
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