Garlic Bloat Nematode and White Rot
Garlic bloat nematode has become a serious pest issue for garlic growers in the northeastern U.S. Once infected, fields must endure a rigorous eradication program before any alliums should be grown there again. The problem affects all alliums, but is especially an issue for growers of garlic seed stock. We at Fedco Bulbs take this pest infestation seriously because we really don't want to chance infecting your precious gardening or farming ground.
White rot is not yet common in Maine, but the long-term consequences of this disease make it a concern for all garlic growers and suppliers.
Fedco Bulbs requires our growers and suppliers to test each lot of garlic through the University of Maine Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab for both garlic bloat nematode and white rot. Each lot must test negative for both diseases before we receive delivery and must arrive with UMaine lab documentation.
The garlic bloat nematode is a plant parasitic nematode that causes stunted and/or misshapen plants, and results in poor quality bulbs. The nematodes will move to neighboring plants that touch each other, whether still in the ground, after harvest in the curing stage, on display at market or later in storage.
If you detect this problem in your crop, pull and destroy infected plants. Do not add them to any compost pile as the pest may later infect the ground where that compost gets spread. If allowed to grow to maturity, infected plants may get large enough for table stock, but in no circumstance should they be used as seed stock.
Fact sheets on Garlic Bloat Nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci) and White Rot (Stromatina cepivorum):
- The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service - Bulletin #1205, Bloat Nematode in Maine Garlic
- The University of Maine Cooperative Extension - Bulletin #2062 White Rot of Garlic and Onions
- Cornell University proceedings - Bloat Nematode Problem on Garlic (pdf)
Submitting your garlic for testing:
- Testing for Maine and other states is available through The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab. See Instructions for submission.