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Lettuce at risk from Fusarium wilt

Fusarium wilt An outbreak of an aggressive soil-borne fungus has been reported in UK glasshouse lettuce crops for the first time and growers are being urged to look out for symptoms to get diagnosis early.

Lettuce Fusarium wilt has previously been found in mainland Europe, but the identification of this strain of the disease in Lancashire, was the first time it has been confirmed in the UK. The pathogen, which causes lettuce to wilt and die, is a particularly aggressive strain with no known treatments or resistant varieties currently available.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), an advisory body for growers, has commissioned the University of Warwick to deliver a technical review to compile detailed information on management options to help minimise the impact on the UK lettuce industry. The full report will be published in early February 2018, but information will be shared with industry as the review proceeds.

Growers who suspect lettuce Fusarium wilt in their crops should send samples for diagnosis. Dr John Clarkson from Warwick Crop Centre, at the University of Warwick, will accept lettuce samples for free testing. For further information visit horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/lettuce-fusarium-wilt-and-root-rot

Dr John Clarkson, said: “This disease is very serious. It is very aggressive and difficult to get rid of because the fungus produces long-life spores that survive in the soil.”

Mon 27 November 2017, 14:09 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science