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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Bacterial soft rot of garlic bulb.

Onion and Garlic

Bacterial Soft Rot

Pathogens: Erwinia carotovora ssp. carotovora, E. chrysanthemi, Pseudomonas gladioli, and Enterobacter cloacae

(Reviewed 1/07, updated 1/07)

In this Guideline:


SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

Bacterial soft rots are characterized by softening and water soaking of one or more of the inner fleshy scales of the bulb. Affected tissue is yellow initially, turning brown as the disease progresses lengthwise in the bulb. The neck of infected bulbs may be soft when pressed. These organisms generally appear just before or at the time of harvest or in storage.

COMMENTS ON THE DISEASES

Bacterial soft rots are primarily a problem on onions, but not garlic. Free water is essential for entry and spread of the bacteria. Wounds and senescent leaves are the means by which bacteria gain entrance into the bulb. The pathogens are soilborne and may be spread in irrigation water.

MANAGEMENT

Cultural Control
Avoid overhead irrigation once onions start to bulb (bulbing occurs about the time the bulb is twice the diameter of the neck). Harvest only after onion tops are well matured. Provide for quick drying following topping, especially if temperatures are high.

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Onion and Garlic
UC ANR Publication 3453
Diseases
R. M. Davis, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
B. J. Aegerter, UC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Diseases:
F. F. Laemmlen, UC Cooperative Extension, Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo counties
R. E. Voss, Vegetable Crops, UC Davis

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