Fusarian Wilt confirmation tests and control

Asked November 29, 2017, 5:55 PM EST

The Douglas County Master Gardner program helped me diagnose a problem in my vegetable garden and it looks like I am being plagued with Fusarian Wilt. Are there any tests that can be run on my soil or plant matter (I did not keep any plant matter from last year so I would have to wait until spring/summer for a sample for that) which would confirm the diagnosis? Also is there any recent work on control of the disease as the only thing the Douglas County folks could realistically suggest was rotation of crops?

Douglas County Colorado plant disease soil and fertility issues

3 Responses

Fusarium Wilt can be a problem in the vegetable garden, but since this is a systemic pathogen, there are no fungicides that can be applied to manage it. Culturing plant tissue when the symptoms appear would be best way to confirm this. The MG recommendation of rotation is a good one, but there are a couple of other tools that you can use to manage the problem. Soil solarization would be one of the techniques that can help reduce the pathogen populations in the soil. http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/agriculture/soil-solarization-an-alternative-to-soil-fumi... is our fact sheet on soil solarization. There is also a technique called 'stale seedbed' which is similar to soil solarization but intended more to get weeds to germinate so they can be removed before planting. If you are planting tomatoes, there are VFN resistant tomatoes that can be used as well. VFN stands for Verticillium, Fusarium, Nematode resistant tomatoes. The tomatoes would be resistant to the Fusarium in the soil. I should caution though that resistance does not mean immunity, so if the pathogen populations are high in the soil, it could overwhelm the resistance and the plants can still show symptoms. What I would recommend (at least for a couple of years) is to try crop rotation, and soil solarization coupled with VFN tomatoes to reduce the pathogen populations. I might also recommend other vegetables that would not be as susceptible to Fusarium as tomatoes. In my experience, eggplant, peppers and potatoes in the Solanaceous family are not as susceptible as tomatoes.
Let me know if you have any other questions.

How/where do I get the plant matter cultured in the spring/summer when I have something to test? Thanks Roman


You can send plant samples to the CSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic, E215 Plant Sciences Bldg, Fort Collins,CO 80523-1177. The submission form that should accompany the sample can be found on our website, http://plantclinic.agsci.colostate.edu/ under 'Quick Links'. The form can be downloaded and filled out, then sent in with the sample.
Place the samples in a zip bag, no added water, but you can wrap them in a paper towel so they don't get smashed around. Root/crown samples are best for culturing for Fusarium. We recommend shipping/mailing on Mon-Wed so we get the samples by Friday and they don't sit over the weekend in either Central Receiving here on campus or the post office.
Let me know if you have any other questions.