Bacterial soft rot destroys more crops than any other bacterial disease.
Commonly occurring in cruciferous, cucurbit, nightshade, and onion families, bacterial soft rot also causes severe pitting in carrots.
Rather than a single disease with a simple cause, bacterial soft rot refers to a collective of bacterial rots caused by Dickeya dadantii (previously known as Erwinia chrysanthemi), Pectobacterium carotovorum, and various Bacillus, Clostridium, and Pseudomonas bacteria. Whichever critter starts this problem, the soft tissues of buds, bulbs, corms, and the rest become liquified, turning your crop into a mushy mess.
Symptoms of bacterial soft rot
Like other bacterial diseases, bacterial soft rot is easy to miss in its early stages. As the disease progresses, water spots start to form. Unlike the whitish splash marks left on old wooden furniture, these spots expand, become soft, and sink. These damaged areas may ooze and change color. Discolorations can range from cream to black. And they smell bad.
Bacterial soft rot management
Poor drainage, waterlogged soil, and insufficient airflow can all set the stage for bacterial soft rot. Infected plants must be destroyed and removed. Prevention is worth the effort. The following good cultural practices can significantly reduce the likelihood of bacterial soft rot affecting your plants:
If bacterial soft rot continues to be a problem in specific areas of your garden, use that space for plants that are generally not susceptible. That list includes beets, corn, and snap beans.
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