Friday, 21 April 2017

Confusing Club Root

The weather hasn’t been anything spectacular over the last few days. I suppose it’s been pretty average weather for mid to late April.

If you follow our blogs you’ll know that we suffer from club root on our allotment. A soil borne disease that affects brassica plants and a disease that there’s no treatment to prevent it available to gardeners. I tend to keep a record of the beds on the plot affected by club root and make sure I don’t plant brassicas in these beds. All our beds are on a 3 or 4 year crop rotation and therefore they aren’t planted up with brassicas year after year.

Last summer I ordered some plug plants from one of the seed companies. It was a collection of various types of brassica plants.  The intention was to provide crops from late winter through into the spring of this year. They were planted out on 06 September 2016 and were planted through weed control fabric and covered with environmesh to protect them from pigeon damage.
Planted on 06 September 2016
They were in a bed that I hadn’t marked up as being affected by club root. However, after initially starting to grow well, winter weather and what I believed to be club root started to take a toll. By the end of winter the plants didn't look very well at all.
Photo taken on 05 February 2017
They all had stunted growth, almost no root and could be pulled out of the ground with very little effort. I consider this to be typical of the problems caused by club root. The plants were pulled up and destroyed.

There were a few plants of cauliflower Aalsmeer that didn’t look completely dead and I decided to leave them in the ground and see if they would pick up and produce some cauliflowers. 
Photo taken on 05 February 2017
Well to my amazement they have or I should say one of them has so far and I think a couple more will very soon.
Cauliflower Aalsmeer 15 April 2017
As I thought all the other brassicas in this bed had succumbed to club root I decided to dig out the root of this cauliflower and see if it had any signs of club root. It took a little bit of digging up a sign that it probably wasn’t affected.
Cauliflower Aalsmeer  Root 15 April 2017
Looking at the root it's clear that the plant didn’t have club root and as the picture shows the root looks healthy enough with no bulbous parts which are the tell-tale signs of the disease.

So, I’m not sure now whether this bed is affected by club root or not. Most of the varieties we grow are club root resistant ones but the choice of varieties is limited and I like to try something different for a change.  Maybe Aalsmeer has some club root resistance or maybe only part of the bed is affected by the disease or even better it was the winter weather that affected the plants and not club root at all. I might try brassicas again in this bed before dismissing it entirely for brassicas. I'll certainly be checking the remaining cauliflower plants roots when digging them out in a few weeks time.

1 comment:

  1. In my brassica patch last year it was only the late planted plants that really got hit, just as you describe the roots just withered and the plants could be pulled away minus roots. The earlier planted plants fared better and persisted after the demise of the new ones. Glad you got a nice cauli - they are always a bit of a surprise aren't they!


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