Broad Bean leaf rust

by lo
(Maidstone Kent UK)

I have rust on my Broad Bean plants this year which suddenly appeared this month and is the first time it has been a problem.

I think it is because I planted them more close together this year for support, in a row of four. Although I wonder if the long draught followed by many weeks of torrential rain upset the balance.

We have already eaten some of the beans prior to the problem but will the rust damage the actual beans pods?

Broad bean leaf rust is normally more common after mid-summer but I was wondering if you have managed to definitely diagnose the problem as leaf rust or perhaps it is Chocolate Spot which looks very similar.

Chocolate Spot occurs in late winter on autumn planted beans, and in mid-spring on spring grown crops.

However, both are fungi that attack beans when there is too much nitrogen around. This can happen if you go overboard with the farmyard manure.

It is better to feed your broad beans potash as mentioned in the article on growing broad beans as it hardens the plants and makes them less susceptible to diseases. If you planted your beans too close together, as you suspected, this will allow the fungus virus to spread more readily.

Remove the broad bean plants and burn them to destroy the chance of reinfection. Do not compost your infected bean plants as the fungi will still survive over the winter.

I wouldn't eat the beans, but there are some who have - with no ill-effect. It really depends on the individual and how badly the crop has been affected.


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