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        Allium White Rot

        Sclerotium cepivorum, a fungus

        Garlic lightly affected by white rot
        Garlic lightly affected by white rot
        Garlic lightly affected by white rot
        Garlic bulb completely destroyed by white rot
        Garlic bulb completely destroyed by white rot
        Garlic bulb completely destroyed by white rot
        White rot on stored garlic
        White rot on stored garlic
        White rot on stored garlic
        White rot on onions
        White rot on onions
        White rot on onions
        Close-up of the sclerotia (fruiting bodies) of white rot on a garlic bulb
        Close-up of the sclerotia (fruiting bodies) of white rot on a garlic bulb
        Close-up of the sclerotia (fruiting bodies) of white rot on a garlic bulb
        Close-up of the sclerotia (fruiting bodies) of white rot on a garlic bulb
        Close-up of the sclerotia (fruiting bodies) of white rot on a garlic bulb
        Close-up of the sclerotia (fruiting bodies) of white rot on a garlic bulb


        Host Plants:

        On Crops: Bulb onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, chives, and ornamental varieties of Allium

        Where Found:

        Worldwide

        Description:

        The foliage yellows and wilts. This may coincide with the plants being nearly ready to harvest, so the disease can go unnoticed until the crop is harvested. When pulled, the plant will lift free from the soil easily. On inspection of the basal plate (where the roots sprout from) a fluffy white mold can be found, which may be peppered with tiny black dots like poppy seeds. The black dots are 'sclerotia', which will drop off in the soil and wait until conditions are right for them to germinate and spread the disease to the next onion family crop. The optimum germination temperature for the sclerotia is 59-64F (15-18C), and they may remain viable in the soil for 7-20 years.

        Damage:

        Bulbs are softened and parts may be inedible. They will not store, and may transfer the disease to unaffected bulbs in storage, so must be used immediately. In severe cases, the bulb will have turned black and be totally rotten.

        Preventing Problems:

        Rotate onions to a fresh site each year to prevent disease build-up. Only buy certified disease-free sets and seedlings and inspect all plants carefully before planting, or grow only from seed.

        Managing Outbreaks:

        Gather up and burn onion debris. Do not compost it. Set aside bulbs from affected plants for short-term consumption, because they will rot in storage. Avoid growing onions in the same spot again for at least 8 years.

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