Maintaining a beautiful garden is in some ways similar to raising a loving family. Tender care is necessary not only to ensure that your garden looks fresh and beautiful but also to protect the plants from various diseases. Most homeowners cannot be expected to be experts in the area of plant protection and plant care.
Qualified and experienced horticulturists and professional gardeners can identify problems at first sight and initiate measures to stem the rot before a potential trouble impacts the whole garden. Club root is among common diseases that affect a variety of plants. Let us now focus on understanding Clubroot and means of preventing the disease from spreading.
What is club root?
Club root is a common disease that largely affects vegetable gardens that have plants from Brassicae family. In generic terms, this includes cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, radishes, stocks, turnips, wallflowers, Brussels sprouts and the like. In the past, the disease was reckoned as a mould though it has now joined the ranks of what is known as Phytomyxea.
Malformation at the root of the plant on account of enhanced cell growth and division leading to galls appearing is the first sign of club root. The galls in turn tie up the nutrients and nutrients and water do not reach plant tissues above the ground level in severely infected conditions.
Infection can occur at varying stages of the plant growth and the impact consequently differs.
Since the infection, when noticed special care, you are better off getting professional advice to prevent a proliferation of the disease and take other corrective action needed to contain recurrence.
During the growth of brassicae crops, the roots tend to release chemicals known as exudates aiding germination of spores that lie dormant. Post-germination, the pathogens gain mobility and transition to the root hairs. Once infected, the root grows abnormally and when the affected plants finally decay they release spores back to the soil and disease cycle thus continues.
It is extremely difficult to manage club root and the best of controlling is by rotating the crops to prevent spreading. This can be achieved by choosing cruciferous plants for affected areas once every 3 or 4 years.
Acidic soil promotes the growth of Clubroot and therefore enhancing pH level to about 7.2 could be an effective means of controlling club root. Calcitic lime is often the best means of raising pH except in conditions where the soil has low magnesium. In low magnesium conditions, dolomitic lime could be more effective.
Where feasible liming the soil at least 6 weeks ahead of planting time is considered beneficial and care should be taken to prevent raising the pH to very high levels. High alkalinity in the soil can impact the growth of other non-cruciferous plants.
Cleaning and disinfecting garden tools is one way to prevent spreading of the spores to areas free from the infection. Moving the contaminated soil or infected plants from one part of the garden to another (includes mud on your shoe soles) could lay out an invitation for more trouble. Take care to prevent soil runoff during a rainy season.
Certain types of fungicides also tend to promote club root disease. Most chemicals are also resistant to the club root disease and your only option may be to pull and, dispose of the affected plants as early as possible. Aggressive action is by far the only means of preventing the disease from spreading.
While removing the affected plants, you should dig around the plant and ensure that the root system is completely removed so that the roots do not break up promoting further spread. The plants removed must be discarded safely and never added to your compost pile.
Water, wind and garden tools aid spreading of fungal spores.
Club root disease can develop due to a wide array of conditions. However, low level of soil pH and excess moisture are the main contributors. Remember that the spores can remain active in the ground for as long as ten years.
As you have seen, raising the pH level in the soil is an effective measure in controlling club root disease. However, applying lime to achieve this, has its share of associated health risks and therefore a seasoned professional gardener is always preferred to take charge. Professionals are better equipped to handle these hazardous chemicals and also make a more informed decision about the issues affecting your garden, including the soil conditions.