Bean Root Rot

Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and Pythium fungi

Host Plants:

On Crops: Beans, potatoes, and many other vegetables and flowers

Where Found:

Worldwide, wherever host crops are grown


Bean plants begin to wilt on hot days and show little new growth. Watering does not help, and plants die within a few days. Often one or two plants will die while others nearby show no symptoms. When root rot strikes seedlings, they emerge from the soil and then turn yellow and die.


When you pull up an infected bean plant, it will have a skimpy root system with most small roots missing. A dark area of decay may be present on the main stem near the soil line.

Preventing Problems:

Plant beans in soil that has been thoroughly cultivated, and do not follow potatoes with beans. Thin as needed to grow plants at proper spacing, because crowded conditions can contribute to the development of root rot diseases. You will lose fewer seedlings to root rot diseases if you wait until the soil is warm to plant beans.

Managing Outbreaks:

Pull up affected plants and compost them. Place a pile of mature compost on the spot where the failed bean plant had been growing.

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