Subarctic plant fungus identified further south than expected
There have been reports of a plant disease normally found in subarctic climates affecting plants as far south as Herefordshire. The fungus Sclerotinia Subarctica has been identified for the first time in the UK in buttercups and carrots.
University of Warwick plant scientists identified the disease, which is related to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, also known as white mould, which affects a number of crops.
The scientists who identified the fungus, which can cause carrots to rot in the ground, said their discovery means a reevaluation is needed of Sclerotinia Subarctica, as it was previously only believed to affect plants in extremely cold climates. The Warwick scientists said further research is now needed to ascertain whether the fungal disease presents a threat to susceptible crops.
Elsewhere in the UK, the recent wet weather experienced particularly in the South has given rise to a higher risk of Cavity Spot infection in carrot crops and Rhizoctonia in potato seed beds. Scientists overseeing field trials have warned that wet soil conditions in many parts favour early attack by the Pythium Violae pathogen.
The cold, wet weather is also increasing the risk of damaging Rhizoctonia in field trials in the North and East of England; poor weather means much of the UK potato crop is yet to be planted.