Club Root Resistant Brassicas

clubrootPhoto Left: Clubroot

Clubroot is probably the worst problem the brassica grower can have. It’s symptoms are initially wilting of the plant, particularly during dry weather and plants may appear stunted or sickly and the foliage may develop a purple-red tinge.

To be absolutely sure you have clubroot, pull the plant and examine the roots. Infected roots swell and distort, often producing either a single large club or a cluster of smaller galls resembling small dahlia tubers. See Photo.

Clubroot affects all members of the brassica family – cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohl rabi, swedes and turnips.

club root resistant cauliflower claptonPhoto Left: Clubroot Resistant Cauliflower Clapton

The chemicals that controlled the disease are no longer available to the gardener due to environmental legislation and the only other option was to grow in fresh clean compost as far as possible before planting out in soil heavily limed to give a pH in excess of 7.5. This helped but wasn’t very effective.

Rotation isn’t a great help with clubroot, the spores can remain active in the ground for many years and a 20 year cycle would be needed although a five year cycle will help somewhat.

club root resistant cabbage kilatonPhoto Left: Clubroot Resistant  Cabbage Kilaton

Clubroot is easily transmitted and almost impossible to eradicate but help is at hand. The plant breeders have been working away in the background for nearly 20 years and the results of their efforts are now coming onto the market

Suttons were first out of the starting block with club root resistant Cabbage Kilaxy and this year it has been followed by Cabbage Kilaton from Thompson & Morgan. They’ve also launched the first cauliflower with Club Root resistance. Cauliflower Clapton is a versatile late summer to late autumn maturing variety, depending on its sowing time.

T&M state that it “Produces excellent flavoured quality, uniform, large, solid and deep white heads.” So an ideal cauliflower for any grower. They also say “It has taken over 18 years of conventional breeding to develop a variety that can combat the devastating brassica disease Club Root and this superb variety is the most resistant we have ever grown on our trials.”

Hopefully we will see more clubroot resistant varieties in the next few years and in other cultivars as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohl rabi, swedes and turnips are vulnerable.

Incidentally club root also effects and can be transmitted by cultivating radish, mustard (often used as a green manure), wallflowers and stocks. It also affects weeds like charlock and shepherd’s purse.

Posted in New on Site, Pests & problems
10 comments on “Club Root Resistant Brassicas
  1. michael cooper says:

    good cultivation of soil .grow seed transplants well away from growing site.i grow in pots 3// lime soil to reqd ph level. i av at 6. 5 to 7.when tranplant teaspoonfull of lime in hole puddle in .keep eye on plants all time.leaves roots burn amust.


    We grew Kilaxy this year because of previous cabbage failures due to club root. The crop was excellent and unaffected by club root.

  3. Richard Davies says:

    Does anyone know where I can get clubroot-resistant brussels sprout seeds?

    • ian kestle says:

      @Richard Davies:
      I have just bought some off Ebay, expensive but had to buy them as I have got club root badlyor pack in they alloment.
      It is all over allotments. aalong with a problem of white rot on onions. Every one has had this problem. I think it’s to do with the weather. never known it as bad as it is now.
      Best of luck IAN K

  4. John says:

    By following the links in the article! I’ve added a clubroot resistant sprout

  5. Bobjob says:

    Clapton, Kilaton and Crispus all worked a treat this year, especially the cauliflower. First time I have ever grown brassicas (successfully) in 12 years on the allotment. Now we need some more varieties, especially cabbage (not really keen on Kilaton to eat) and some broccoli please!

  6. KD says:

    Just went down to weed my brussels yesterday. Took off the netting and all looked fine except one that had fallen over. Picked it up and it came away in my hand. When I looked the root was completely rotten, brown and soft like dog poo and stinking. Then checked the others and they were the same even though the foliage was OK and little sprouts were growing. I put them on the bonfire, but haven’t dealt with the poo yet. Just too daunting and it was getting late. Is this club root or something else? I noticed some lumpy roots in previous years but the crops were OK, and I’ve never seen a picture of what normal roots should look like so just thought that was normal.
    Who would grow vegetables – I’d rather pay the professionals. Too much disappointment and heartbreak.

    • John Harrison says:

      KD – the harder the task, the more satisfaction when you accomplish it.
      I don’t think what you describe is clubroot – but I may well be wrong. I suspect something else has caused this but what?

  7. KD says:

    The soil is heavy like clay; dries and cracks in a dry spell, waterlogs with heavy rain. I did water them enthusiastically in the early stages, so maybe I overdid it; but to completely rot seems like an over-reaction!! I have applied loads of manure over the years, which has improved the soil, but the allotments are in an area that is low lying and badly drained. (Blight is rife, so I have given up on potatoes.) I will give the brassicas a miss for a couple of years, and then maybe do them in pots or at least raised beds, or try your resistant strains. Thanks for that info. I have been trying to buy only organic and (where possible) heritage seeds, but maybe there is a place for scientific advancement after all!!
    I have had good crops of onions, courgettes, dwarf beans, leeks, celery, spinach, parsley, carrots, beetroot and (hopefully soon) parsnips. And we did enjoy the brussel tops as greens, so I don’t really mean it when I say I am ready to throw in the towel. There is nothing like the joy of picking your own, but the opposite side of that is the disappointment of a failed crop.

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