Pulse School: Assessing the culprit(s) causing a root rot problem

For parts of Western Canada, the rain keeps on pouring.

Early wet conditions could be conducive to root rot problems in pulses.

Fortunately, for three of the four main culprits —rhyzoctonia, fusarium and pythium, the plants will generally grow through the vulnerable early seedling stage if a seed treatment has been applied, notes Robyne Bowness-Davidson, pulse research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lacombe, in this Pulse School video.

Unfortunately, the fourth — aphanomyces — is not controlled by a seed treatment and has become more common in recent years.

She explains how to diagnose root rot issues in this episode.

“My advice is to be out there and pulling up some plants. If you see some some necrosis, or some chlorosis, or yellowing of plants in the field, pull them up, take a look at the roots and see what’s going on,” says Bowness-Davidson.

“If it’s early seedling root rot that’s happening early in the season and you’ve used seed treatment, you might see some damage to the roots. But if it dries up, or if your seed treatments are working, or you’ve done everything else right, a lot of times they can grow through it.”

A root rot problem might also not make itself evident above ground until later in the season or when the soil dries up. By that time, it might be tough to diagnose the original cause as other diseases may have moved in, she notes.

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