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Beans have rotten time in cool spring

Question: I found a couple of beans in my garden that have something devouring them at their base. Could it be some sort of soil-borne larva or possibly a virus? I found one small white worm about a half of a centimeter long near the root about an inch away. Any ideas would be helpful.

With this cool weather and cool soils, it might be crown rot (a soil-borne disease organism) that rots the stem at soil level. The first symptom is that the plant appears stunted compared to some of the other plants.

This stem or collar rot is typically spotty through the entire row of beans. It will be scattered and inconsistent. A picture of it is on my blog at xtreme horticulture.blogspot.com. I usually end up removing these plants.

The other problem can be cutworms. You should be spraying or dusting the soil surface around these plants with either Dipel or Thuricide, organic pesticides.

Bob Morris is an associate professor with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. He can be reached at morrisr@unce.unr.edu or 257-5555.

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