Broad Bean Rust

Aug 7, 2018

Our little broad bean crop has rust caused by the pathogen Uromyces viciae-fabae. I noticed it weeks ago and despite my best intentions, didn’t get around to treating it in its early stages.

Where does it come from? Generally from infected seed. We did introduce some new seed this year and suspect it came from here. However, it also travels on wind – so it could arrive from your neighbour’s garden. Prevention of rust includes making sure there’s good air flow in the crop, having clean seed and treating it as early as possible.

Two DIY treatment options include spraying the infected plants with 1 part milk to 10 parts water – this is the same mix used on powdery mildew for zucchinis, cucumbers and other members of the cucurbit family. The second option is mixing up 2 litres of water, adding a few drops of vegetable oil (or other type of oil), a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and 4 teaspoons of bicarb. Mix well and spray on infected plants. The bicarb soda makes the leaves alkaline which can prevent fungal spore development.

Importantly, you need to apply these treatments when its not raining heavily (or about to) so they have a chance of sticking around on the plant surface long enough to be effective.

This diagram on the left from Agriculture Victoria outlines the life cycle of the rust and really emphasises the importance of having clean seed to prevent it from recurring season after season.

We wont save any seed for planting from this crop. Instead will harvest what we can, eat the beans (fresh and dried) and make sure the plant matter is taken out of our nutrient cycling systems in our property. We’re fortunate to have a local council with a commercial composting facility – this is where we take any diseased plants as their large, hot composting eradicates any pathogens so aren’t passed on into the mature compost product. 

As our plants are predominantly being impacted at their base, I’m hoping the hundreds of flowers up top have a chance to turn into beans before too much rust spreading occurs. Fingers crossed.

We’d love to hear about any treatment options you’ve had success with – so comment below to share the goodness :-).

your thoughts:

8 Comments

  1. Trevor

    Will the same two treatments work with rust on raspberries?

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      No, sorry Trevor. As far as I’m aware, raspberry rust means you simply have to replace the vines with new ones.

      Reply
      • Joanna

        Does this affect the soil, ie once the plants have been removed, is it ok to plant something else in there?

        Reply
  2. Annika

    Thanks so much for this info. Love your work! I just pulled out my crop and am glad I read this as I was thinking if composting. I did not treat it and it got away from me. I have also noticed when pulling out the plants that there are strange pinkish white growths on the root. Is this something g you associate with the rust pathogen?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Clancey Mckenzie

    Hi Hannah. I discovered rust to late on my broadys too. Luckily we had a very productive, long season so we didn’t miss out on much crop. Sadly this now leans I can’t chop and drop of the nutrient goodness and can’t save my seeds 😪
    My question is, the soil? Would you suggest treating the soil now that I have cut it back? Also the nitrogen nodes on the roots, will they be ok to leave in the ground do you think?
    Thanks Clancey

    Reply
  4. Louisa Douw

    Hi, I am just treating my infected beans with sulfur. After harvesting, what did you do with your soil? Did you leave it for a couple of seasons? Or treat the soil with something? Thanx

    Reply
  5. Gaby

    Do you think that boiling diseased material will break the cycle and you still can feed the material to worms without ill effect?

    Reply
  6. Melinda Oogjes

    Hannah, do you know if this will spread to any other plants in the garden? It’s been so rainy this year, I am finding timing treatment between showers a bit tricky all round….. Jim

    Reply

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