Pests and diseases - rust

by Pippa Greenwood

Fungal rusts have been pretty prolific this year, which is not surprising, as they thrive in damp and muggy conditions.

Pests and diseases - rustFungal rusts have been pretty prolific this year, which is not surprising, as they thrive in damp and muggy conditions.The film of moisture left on foliage after rainfall provides the perfect conditions for rust spores to germinate. Infections such as rose rust and hollyhock rust are then quick to establish.

At the beginning of summer I was given samples of pear foliage with rust on them. Interestingly, my pear trees haven't been affected this year, which is surprising as the weather conditions have been perfect for rust and the trees were quite badly affected last year.

However, other plants haven't been so lucky. Earlier this year, my kids bought some beautiful bright lemon-yellow snapdragons from the local market. The plants were soon ruined. We also raised some snapdragons from seed, but these plants are, as yet, still healthy. I hope I removed and discarded the affected plants quickly enough to prevent my home-grown plants succumbing to the same fate.

As much as I encourage my kids to buy plants, I will make sure none of us buys snapdragons again. I've strong suspicions that they harboured the infection when we bought them.

Now, in my household, 'rust patrol' has become a regular feature of daily life. With secateurs and a hand trowel at the ready, we're out removing leaves or even whole plants to prevent the fungal infection spreading. We then either burn affected plants or put them in the bin. Hopefully the weather will dry up a bit. I've got my fingers crossed for more sun and wind - drier conditions and improved air circulation should help control the infection without the need to resort to using a spray.

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Pests and diseases - rust
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 07/09/2008 at 13:39

Hello,I'm a real novice and I have had a problem this year in my greenhouse, the leaves on some of my plants have caught some thing, but I don't think it is a mould, because what ever it is it eats the leaves and what is left is just a skeleton of all the leaves vains. First the leaf goes from a beautiful dark green to whitish yellow, then small spots arrive and then these holes start to appear, but the vains of the leaves are left until it is just a skeleton and then another healthy leaf next to the infected one will start to show signs of infection and so it goes on. We have had a very summer in the North West which may have contributed to this. Can any one please help me.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/10/2008 at 14:41

I have blackspot on my large hydrangea bush in my border. it has appeared for the first time this year although it is a very old shrub. Could it be the very wet summer we've had and what should I do?

Gardeners' World Web User 19/07/2009 at 01:56

i have had my trees in pots for 6 yrs one is thriving but when the new shoots come there is millions of tiny black beasts I have sprayed then sadly cut them back will this affect them as the other one

Gardeners' World Web User 19/07/2009 at 02:00

I have just made a plot 8X6 with the best top soil sadly I dont know if there is anything that Ican plant now for the autumn can anyone help

Gardeners' World Web User 25/06/2010 at 09:41

I planted leeks last year which succumbed to rust. This year I planted garlic in the same area and this too has succumbed to rust. I discarded all the leaves etc but I would like to know what I should use on the ground to clean it of the spores which must still be there. It is a raised bed which at the moment has carrots along with the garlic growing away quite happily. Can I clean the affected area now or should I wait until Autumn and what should I use please? I have 10 raised beds and none of the other beds appear to have been affected.

See more comments...