How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Fusarium Wilt (Common Beans)
Pathogen: Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. phaseoli
(Reviewed 8/07, updated 12/08)
In this Guideline:
Symptoms of Fusarium yellows or wilt usually appear on medium-aged or older plants and begin as a yellowing and wilting of the lower leaves. The wilting and yellowing then progress up the plant until the entire plant turns yellow. At this stage, the yellow plants are readily observed in the field. Plants also may be stunted, particularly if infected at a younger age.
The root and stems show few external symptoms (in contrast to Fusarium root rot caused by F. solani). Discoloration of the vascular system is a diagnostic symptom of Fusarium yellows, and it can be readily seen by cutting into the lower stem and looking for a red-brown streaking in the vascular tissues. The discoloration is usually present in plants showing foliar symptoms and is particularly evident in the lower stem and at stem and petiole nodes.
Fusarium yellows was first described in California in 1928 and it has subsequently spread throughout the United States and into Central and South America. Although the disease is not uncommon in California, it has not become a major problem. The pathogen is a specialized form of F. oxysporum that infects common bean but not lima beans, cowpeas, soybeans or other crops. Like other Fusarium wilt pathogens, it can survive in soil for long periods of time, and continued cropping of bean will result in the build-up of soil populations of F. oxysporum f. sp. phaseoli. It also has been reported to be an external contaminant of seed, which has likely facilitated the long distance dissemination of the pathogen.
At this time in California, specific control measures for Fusarium wilt are usually not used. However, many of the controls recommended for Fusarium root rot may minimize Fusarium wilt, such as crop rotation. Whenever practical, take efforts to minimize spread of the pathogen from infested to uninfested fields via farm machinery, irrigation equipment and water, and contaminated seed. Resistance to Fusarium yellows has been identified in a number of bean accessions and could be incorporated into California varieties if the disease becomes a major problem.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines:
C. A. Frate (emeritus), UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Diseases:A. E. Hall (emeritus), Botany and Plant Sciences, UC Riverside
R. M. Davis (emeritus), Plant Pathology, UC Davis
R. L. Gilbertson, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
S. R. Temple (emeritus), Plant Sciences, UC Davis