Diseases & Disorders

Helpful advice on what to do when problems strike, whether they're diseases, disorders or otherwise - and how to prevent them occurring


Fungal infection

Phytophthora is our second most reported disease. Causing die-back and leaf damage on trees and shrubs and is often fatal.

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  • Frost damage

    Frost damage

    Frost can affect many plants, and is particularly damaging to tender new growth and blossom in the spring. The risks of frost damage can be reduced by taking some simple steps to protect the plants in your garden.

  • Heavy crops follow light crops when apples get into a pattern of biennial bearing. Image: RHS

    Fruit: biennial bearing

    Biennial bearing is a problem in some fruit trees, particularly apples and pears, where they crop heavily in one year and then produce little or nothing the next. Some cultivars are naturally biennial but weather conditions and soil fertility can contribute to the problem.

  • Unproductive fruit trees

    Fruit: unproductive trees

    As long as fruit trees are producing a reasonable harvest of tasty fruit, they earn their place in the garden. If crops diminish, stop, are produced biennially, or are composed of many small fruits of poor quality, one or more elements within the cultivation regime or climate may be to blame.

  • Fuchsia rust. Image: John Scrase

    Fuchsia rust

    Fuchsia rust is a fungal disease that causes orange spots on the undersides of fuchsia leaves and reduces vigour.

  • Fusarium wilts

    Fusarium wilts

    A number of ornamental and edible plants are susceptible to this fungal disease, which can persist in the soil for many years. Each plant genus is usually affected by its own ‘strain’ of the fungus, so that any other plant can be grown in contaminated soil.

  • Garrya elliptica 'James Roof'. Image: RHS Herbarium


    The long, hanging silvery catkins of Garrya elliptica (the silk tassel bush) are a striking sight in winter. With its evergreen leaves and graceful catkins, Garrya is an excellent wall shrub and a good winter-interest shrub or informal hedge.

  • American gooseberry mildew

    Gooseberry mildew

    This is one of a group of fungi causing powdery mildews on a wide range of plants and is the most serious disease of gooseberries.

  • Grape shanking causes berries to eventually shrivel up. Image: ©www.gardenworldimages.com

    Grape shanking

    Grape vines grown under glass can suffer from shanking, which means that individual berries within a bunch do not colour up properly, and eventually shrivel up. The affected grapes are inedible.

  • Grape powdery mildew

    Grapevine diseases

    Both indoor and outdoor grapes suffer from fungal diseases which affect leaves and fruit. The three top grape diseases are downy mildew, powdery mildew, and grey mould. Four grapevine viruses have also recently been detected in the U.K. but are not currently known to be widespread.

  • Grey mould. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science

    Grey mould

    Grey mould, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, is a very common disease, causing a soft decay of plant tissues accompanied by a growth of fuzzy grey-brown mould. It affects many plants, especially those grown under glass where conditions are humid. It is also a common disease of soft fruit, such as gooseberries, strawberries and grapes.

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