- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
Our cool, wet conditions are favoring white mold (sclerotinia) in garbanzo beans this year. This disease is characterized by a white fungal growth that attacks the above ground plant parts, often near the soil line for garbanzos. The affected tissue dries quickly and bleaches to a pale tan or almost white color. Black sclerotia formed on the stem of dying plants are often visible. These are masses of fungi compacted to form small, dark pellets that range in size from 1-8 mm (about the tip of a pencil to a pencil-size eraser) that allow the fungus to survive in adverse conditions (e.g. hot, dry weather). When the main stem is affected near the soil line, the entire plant wilts and dies; lesser infections will show dead branches, causing yellow flagging in the field.
The black sclerotia pellets formed in the mold can survive many years in the soil and re-infect crops. The development of white mold is greatly influenced by prevailing weather conditions and certain agronomic practices such as late extensive irrigation, plant density, and plant growth characteristics, which are all closely linked with the life cycle of the pathogen. A thick dense plant growth provides a micro climate of cooler temperatures and high moisture beneath the plant canopy where conditions are favorable for disease.
The best control focuses on cultural practices to prevent the disease from developing in the field. This includes higher beds that keep lower plant parts and tops of the bed drier, wider row spacing to increase air movement in the canopy to keep the foliage drier, and planting garbanzo beans later (December through early February) rather than early (November) since the extra growing time can result in heavy canopies that increase humidity and cause infestations late winter/early spring (favorable disease conditions, 68oF-77oF). Crop rotation generally does not prevent white mold infection due to the broad host range of the pathogen.
Fungicides are available for white mold control, but getting good coverage and control is difficult because the inoculum is in the soil and the disease is often deep in the plant canopy. Fungicides would have to be applied when plants are smaller to provide good coverage and protection from this disease. For a list of fungicides available for white mold control in in garbanzos, see http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r52100111.html.
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
I later visited the field with the PCA in order to assess the situation for myself. The disease appeared to be most apparent in one corner of the field where the water tends to sit a little longer. (This is a furrow irrigated field that has had beans for several consecutive years.) Moist or humid conditions favor white mold, as do heavy canopies. The leaves were showing some unusual brown lesions, and some plants had white mycelium growing on the pods (Figure 2). The most detrimental symptom that we observed, however, was complete infection of the stem at the soil line, causing the tissue to dry up (Figure 3). In this case, the upper canopy looked ok, but I am uncertain, perhaps doubtful that the pods will fill on these plants.
What we can hope is that the disease won't appear on more plants in the next two weeks because there are really no management strategies at this stage in the game. The grower needs to think about how to manage this disease in the future, and rotating out of beans to a non-host crop (like small grains or corn) is probably a good strategy.
If wider row spacing is an option, this can also improve air movement in the canopy, which makes conditions less favorable for white mold. Monitoring for the disease should begin at flowering, which is also the best time to apply fungicides (like thiophanate methyl or boscalid) because the plants are small enough for the treatment to penetrate into the canopy.
- Author: Michelle M Leinfelder
In addition to the production manuals previously mentioned, I also consulted UC production manuals produced in the 1950's, including Dry Edible Bean Production in California (1954), Blackeyes: Costs of Production, Suggestions on Growing (1956), and Production of Dry Edible Lima Beans in California (~1951).
9:00 – 9:30 AM
Five Points Field Station
Lassen and Oakland Avenues
17353 W. Oakland Avenue
Five Points, CA 93624
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