Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and
support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Club root is a fungal infection of the roots of brassicas, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip and swede, leading to swollen and distorted roots and stunted growth.
Club root is an infection of the roots of brassicas and related plants by Plasmodiophora brassicae, a soil-dwelling micro-organism related to the slime moulds, leading to massive swelling, distortion and severely retarded growth.
It affects Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers, turnips, swedes and radishes, and ornamental relatives such as Cheiranthus (wallflowers), Matthiola (stocks), Aubrieta (aubretia) and cabbage-family weeds such as Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s purse).
Club root can infect whenever the soil is moist and warm, so most new infections occur from mid-summer until late autumn.
You may see the following symptoms:
There are no chemicals available to gardeners to treat club root.
Plasmodiophora brassicae is loosely described as a fungus but is in fact more closely related to the slime moulds. It produces resting spores that can contaminate soil for up to 20 years. In the presence of susceptible plant roots, these resting spores germinate and infect the root hairs, causing the distortion. The fungus produces more resting spores in the affected tissue, which eventually rots and releases them back to the soil, ready for the cycle to start over again.
Brassica downy mildewCabbage caterpillarsCabbage root flyCabbage whiteflyCrown gallDisposing of diseased materialFlea beetles on brassicas and allied plantsMealy cabbage aphidWhite blister
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
Nev C. on 09/09/2014
I have an allotment. My brassicas, although appearing to be healthy, well matured plants, when harvested, have club root. Are these safe to eat, or do we need to incinerate them?
GuyB on 11/09/2014
No harm to you, but most definitely destroy all roots - resistant cultivars are very widely offered and highly effective. Guy Barter, Chief Horticultural Advisor
petwil8 on 10/02/2015
Many years ago I read an article in an RHS sheet discussing club root. You were experimenting with a technique involving using diluted water in which cabbage plants ( including roots? ) had been boiled. Can you tell me if this technique proved in any way effective?
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9