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Clubroot is a severe soil-borne disease caused by the pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae. It primarily affects plants in the Brassicaceae family, including canola (rapeseed), cabbage, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables. The disease leads to the formation of galls or “clubs” on the roots, hindering water and nutrient uptake and causing stunted growth and yield reduction. While calcium itself is not a direct control for clubroot, it plays a role in managing the disease indirectly by supporting plant health and potentially mitigating the severity of the disease. Here’s how calcium can influence clubroot and its management in canola:

1. Enhanced Plant Health:

  • Calcium is essential for overall plant health, including cell wall structure, root development, and disease resistance. Healthy plants are better equipped to handle stress, including that caused by clubroot.

2. Cell Wall Integrity:

  • Calcium strengthens cell walls in plant roots. Stronger cell walls may help in reducing the severity of gall formation and restricting the spread of the clubroot pathogen within the plant.

3. Improved Root Development:

  • Adequate calcium levels contribute to proper root development and growth. Well-developed roots may be more resilient to the damage caused by clubroot, potentially reducing the disease’s impact.

4. Competitive Uptake:

  • Ensuring that plants have a well-balanced nutrient profile, including sufficient calcium, allows them to compete more effectively with the pathogen for nutrient uptake. This can help in managing the disease’s effects.

Guidelines for Calcium Application:

  1. Soil Testing and Analysis:
    • Conduct a soil test to assess calcium levels in the soil. Adjust calcium application based on the test results to maintain optimal levels.
  2. Calcium-Rich Fertilizers or Amendments:
    • Use calcium-rich fertilizers or soil amendments, such as gypsum (calcium sulfate) or lime (calcium carbonate), to provide calcium to the soil.
  3. Foliar Calcium Sprays:
    • Apply calcium-based foliar sprays to provide an immediate source of calcium to the plant. Foliar application can be beneficial, especially if soil calcium levels are suboptimal.
  4. Balanced Nutrition:
    • Ensure a balanced nutrient program, including calcium, to promote healthy plant growth and resilience against clubroot.
  5. Integrated Disease Management (IDM):
    • Employ an integrated approach to disease management, which may include crop rotation, resistant varieties, soil amendments, and other cultural practices in addition to calcium application.

While calcium is an important nutrient for plant health and can potentially aid in managing the effects of clubroot, a holistic approach that integrates various control measures is crucial for effective management of clubroot in canola. This may include practicing crop rotation, using resistant varieties, applying appropriate soil amendments, and implementing good agricultural practices. Consulting with agricultural experts for region-specific recommendations is advisable for the best results.

Talk to your OMEX representative today to learn more about our range of calcium products and their use to help reduce the spread of clubroot in your fields