Garlic and rust: a problem this year

Puccinia allii (leek rust) has struck the garlic hard. I had some on the last of the leeks earlier in the year but I had hoped that by getting them all harvested before it got too bad it would not spread to the garlic. Leek rust can affect leeks, garlic, onions and chives but so far only the garlic has been affected – and boy are they affected.

I grew three varieties this year and it is interesting that one of them is far less badly affected. All the garlic was planted last autumn and grew well but a month ago the rust started. I am hoping that the bulbs will not be too affected by the loss of foliage – we will find out in a month or so.

'Thermidrome' was the first to come down with rust

‘Thermidrome’ was the first to come down with rust

At one point the soil was brown with rust spores

At one point the soil was brown with rust spores

'Germidor' was not much better

‘Germidor’ was not much better

And has masses of unsightly pustules all over the leaves

And has masses of unsightly pustules all over the leaves

Only 'Christo' shows much resistance and it was the last to show signs of the disease and is still comparatively unaffectedt

Only ‘Christo’ shows much resistance and it was the last to show signs of the disease and is still comparatively unaffectedt

Some plants of 'Christo' are almost free from the disease

Some plants of ‘Christo’ are almost free from the disease

There is no chemical control for leek rust. You should avoid nigh-nitrogen fertilisers, which encourage soft growth, should give plants sufficient space and you have to hope for dry weather which may help.

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