Good day. According to your website, my soil is infected with a fungi which...

Asked March 5, 2014, 7:18 AM EST

Good day. According to your website, my soil is infected with a fungi which causes Root Rot. How shall I treat the soil because almost the whole vegetable garden is infected.

Outside United States

1 Response


Thanks for contacting us. Extension has thousands of pages, so it would be helpful if you would send me the link to the information you referenced about your plant disease.

There are actually two general types of Phytophthora causing root rot. One is bacterial, the other fungal. The pathogens can live in the soil for years, and many plants are susceptible including cole crops, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes.

Root rot is usually associated with soil that is cold and wet. In addition to raised beds,incorporate more organic matter (well-rotted compost) to improve the drainage and tilth of the soil. Water less frequently, and only when the soil feels dry at a depth of 1 to 2 inches. A soil moisture guage may be useful.
Make sure tender crops are planted in fully warmed soil. Wait a week beyond your average frost-free date to plant crops which are not frost tolerant (cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, etc.) Alternatively, you can use a hoop house or cold-frame until the soil has thoroughly warmed.

Replacing the soil is one option, but is no guaranty against a reoccurrence. Pathogens can be distributed by wind and plant debris. Instead, you might use a 3-year rotation schedule (which is recommended in any case) to help control many plant problems. A simple rotation plan is "leaves, to root, to flowers and fruit." This could include green, leafy vegetables in year 1; beets and carrots in year 2; and peas, beans or tomatoes in year 3.

You might also look for crop varieties that are "resistant", however, this claim is not always sustantiated by research.

I hope this helps. Feel free to write again if you have more questions.