How to Cure Cabbage Crops of Clubroot
Cabbage is a very common vegetable grown in gardens for its nutritional and medicinal values. It is a cool season vegetable; therefore, it can be grown as a winter crop. This particular vegetable has various varieties such as savoy, white, green, red, and drumhead. Like any other garden plant, cabbage is also susceptible to diseases and infections. Clubroot is one such disease that causes significant damage to cabbage plants.
Apart from cabbages, clubroot also affects radishes and turnips; hence, you need to be extra careful if you have a vegetable garden comprising these vegetables. Clubroot-causing organisms—in this case the fungi—predominantly affect cabbage plants in the North American region. Unfortunately, the disease has no cure; so, once the soil is affected, it becomes useless for growing cabbage, turnips, or radishes for the couple of years as the fungi remains active in soil.
Identifying Clubroot in Cabbages
When cabbages contract clubroot, the roots of these plants develop galls in them. Since the roots are affected, one has to rely mainly on visual signs for detecting and identifying the disease in the early stages itself. Some of the following signs will help you in identifying the infection at the earliest:
- Primary symptoms are the yellowing and wilting of leaves on hot days.
- Initially the plants may appear normal; however, as they mature, their growth becomes stunted
- Try uprooting one of the plants and then examine its roots. If the roots appear swollen and have club-shaped roots instead of normal fine network of roots, then it is sure that the plants are infected with clubroot fungi
- As the disease progresses, the roots start decaying slowly and they disintegrate eventually
- Some plants that are slightly infected will have small knots on roots, and at times, it is difficult to identify this at its earlier stages.
Preventing and Curing Clubroot
- Clubroot has no cure; so the best way is to prevent the fungi from infecting the plant.
- The easiest way to avoid infections is to treat the seeds or seedlings with Quintozene at least 5 to 6 weeks before transplanting.
- Ensure that the seeds are purchased from an authorized seller and are certified. If you are buying plants, then make sure that the plants are certified by an official certifying agency.
- If the plants are being transplanted, double check that the bed is not infected with clubroot before planting. While the seedlings are being grown, use polythene sheets under the pots so that the soil does not get contaminated.
- Always decontaminate the equipments that might have been used in a clubroot-infected garden. Lysol and Formaldehyde can be used for decontamination purposes
- Sprinkling lime juice will increase the pH value of soil up to 7.2 or higher, and this process helps the plants to fight the infection. Hydrated lime is often used for raising pH value, and it also helps in maintaining an effective balance between the soil acidity and alkalinity.
- Using hydrated lime may reduce or completely control the disease. However, this may work only with heavier soils.
- The fungicide PCNB is one of the popular fungicides that is used for treating clubroot infections.