Bean Rust

Uromyces appendiculatus, a fungus

Bean rust [Credit: Rasbak]
Bean rust [Credit: Rasbak]
Bean plant badly affected by bean rust [Credit: Jerzy Opioła]
Bean plant badly affected by bean rust [Credit: Jerzy Opioła]

Host Plants:

On Crops: All types of beans

Where Found:

Worldwide, wherever beans are grown


The first signs of bean rust are tiny white flecks on bean leaves. If you look on leaf undersides, you will see tiny blisters and no webbing, as might be present with spider mites. After a few days, the flecks enlarge into orange-brown circular dots. The cinnamon-colored dust particles in each circle are new rust spores. This disease is most likely to spread in warm, damp weather with temperatures between 70 and 80F (21 to 27C).


Badly affected leaves turn brown and drop off. Sometimes pods develop patches of rust, too. Plants that lose leaves to rust are weakened and will not produce as well as healthy plants.

Preventing Problems:

Because bean rust is a wet weather disease, growing beans at proper spacing, so sunlight reaches all the leaves and air circulates freely, is a sound preventive measure. Avoid low places with repeated heavy dews when choosing a place to grow beans. Many varieties offer some genetic resistance. Avoid weeding and harvesting beans when the leaves are wet, because rust spores can be spread among plants by human movements.

Managing Outbreaks:

In dry weather, pick off affected leaves and compost them. At the end of the season, compost all bean plants to speed the decomposition of diseased tissues.

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