Getting Started

Rust Disease

Rust is amongst the most popular fungal diseases, which attacks many common garden plants. The good news is that each variant of rust is specific to a single plant or group of plants and will not spread between plants which are not related.

Rust commonly affects vegetable and fruit crops but can also affect ornamental flowers such as roses. Vegetable and fruit crops at risk of rust disease include asparagus, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, corn, aubergine, onions, and berry crops - such as raspberries.

Early stages of Rust causes rust-coloured spores to grow on a plants' foliage, stems or in some cases the fruit itself. Whilst rust coloured spores are most common these spores may change colour throughout the seasons and vary from orange, yellow, brown, black, or white in colour depending on the time of year and climate. Although rarely fatal, if left untreated it can spread throughout the foliage and drain nutrients from plants, leading to withered leaves, poor yields and flavour of your fruit and vegetables as well as the quality of your flower blooms. In more serious cases it can be fatal to your plants.

Rust like many other fungal diseases thrives in mild, moist conditions. We recommend having a good check over plants in late spring and summer. Rust favours prolonged leaf wetness and are commonly triggered in wet spells of mild weather in spring/summer months.

How To Reduce The Chances Of A Rust Attack

There are several things gardeners can do to prevent infection/stop the spores spreading

  • Try to plant resistant cultivars and varieties. D.T. Brown customer favourites include Leek Stocky F1, Sweetcorn Bodacious F1 and Antirrhinum Rust Resistant Mixed.
  • Avoid watering plants from overhead to prevent extended periods of moisture on plant foliage. Drip feed irrigation systems are a great way to avoid excess moisture on plants.
  • When planning your growing space ensure plants have appropriate spacing to allow sufficient airflow throughout your crops. Avoid overcrowding and stake any upright crops to allow for maximum air circulation between crops.
  • Spores can be spread on tools, wheelbarrows and footwear. As with all disease ensure you thoroughly clean garden tools and wash your hands after handling infected plants.
  • As soon as spores appear remove any infected leaves. Dispose of leaves away from the growing space- spores can spread through the air with wind.
  • Keep the garden clean of dead plants and debris. Rust spores can overwinter on dead plant foliage and trigger an infection.
  • Practice good crop rotation. Rotate susceptible crops away from infected parts of your growing space for two years or more.

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