Foot and root rot

Caused by soil-borne pathogens, Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Fusarium, that can survive in soil for many years - by means of resting structures.

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  • Pathogens can survive in soil for many years as resting structures – eg sclerotia (Rhizoctonia), chlamydospores (Fusarium) and oospores (Pythium and Phytophthora)
  • Spores and resting structures are easily spread – transmitted through water splash, planting equipment, infected transplants and irrigation system (Pythium and Phytophthora)
  • Optimum temperature varies for each pathogen

Damage caused

  • Damping off – the base of seedlings and plants discolours and shrink, seedlings fall over and die
  • Root rot – root tips turn brown / black, development reduced, plants wilt and can be easily pulled from the growing media
  • Foot or crown rot – infection impacting stem base, typically produces a stem lesion with severe infection resulting in plant death


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