With a name like bottom rot, you just know it isn’t going to end well.
Bottom rot is a fungal disease of lettuce and other leaf vegetables, caused by the Rhizoctonia solani fungi. This is the same fungi that causes damping off disease. These fungi live in the soil and are a big problem in warm, moist conditions.
Plants affected by bottom rot
In addition to lettuce, bottom rot can wipe out your Chinese cabbage, escarole, broccoli, radish, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and turnip crops. The Rhizoctonia solani fungus also attacks potatoes, onions, beans, and corn.
Symptoms of bottom rot
At first, all you may see is some wilting of outer leaves. Closer inspection will show reddish-brown, sunken lesions on the midribs of leaves that are touching the soil. Brown or white fungal tissue may be visible and lesions may discharge a light brown ooze. Leaf spots and brown lumpy bits may also be present on the plant and in nearby soil. The fungus grows inward, toward the center of the head or body of the plant. The damaged plant tissue then becomes susceptible to other soft rots, causing total collapse of the plant.
Controlling bottom rot
Fungicides are ineffective against bottom rot, so prevention is your only course pf action. These tips will help protect your leafy bottoms:
As with all bottoms, keep them dry and they will be happy.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!