Common Plant Diseases Caused by Fungi

Plants encounter a myriad of potential issues that can stunt their development, and fungi disease seems to be the most common one of all. Whilst there are not clear instructions to help fight off these fungal diseases, by learning about them, and their symptoms, you may have a better chance of catching and defeating them.

Itemized below are a few of the most common plant diseases caused by fungi. They describe the symptoms of the various infections, the best way to treat the plant / infected soil, and the lasting affects the disease may have.



The Phytophthora species are forms or microscopic, fungus organisms. It causes severe root rot at the base or stem of plants. This disease is found mainly in heavy or waterlogged soils, its symptoms are hard to differentiate from water-logging alone.

The main symptoms are wilting, yellow foliage and branch dieback. Usually the plants symptoms go unnoticed for so long they die before it is too late to treat them. This disease has a significant impact on the root of the plants it infects; it will completely erode any root system. Most of the roots will rot before the gardener has noticed that there are any issues with the appearance of the plant.

This fungal infection is best treated through improving your soils drainage system. If you have bedded new plants, or have other plants, vegetables or fruits close by the infected ones they will have to be removed. It is best that you destroy these plants and replace the area with fresh topsoil to avoid further infection.



This is a fungal infection that occurs primarily in most root vegetables. The more brassicas roots, cauliflower, a Brussels sprouts or turnips to name a few, are worst effected by this infection. It is given its name as the roots of infected plants tend to club together as one, leaving them unable to feed or grow.

Clubroot causes the roots of these vegetables to become swollen and distorted, this makes it difficult for them to take in any liquids and further develop. The vegetables then start to show the effects of this through purple colored, wilting leaves and foliage or a stunt in growth.

This fungal infection is most prominent when the soil the vegetables are grown in is warmer than usual or moist. This means that Clubroot is spread in the summer months through to autumn. The best way to keep on top of this is to raise the PH balance in your soil.

Rhizoctonia rots

This fungal infection can affect a wider range of plants including; lettuce, potatoes, beetroot, carrots and many more. If you are an avid vegetable gardener you will probably have to deal with a few victims of rhizoctonia rots.

The best weather conditions for this fungus to thrive in are the hot, humid temperatures. If this disease does infect your plants the fungus can continue to live in the soil for a while. It is important to change your topsoil before attempting to replant anything in that area.

The easiest way to tell that your plants have been infected with this fungal disease is if their roots, leaves or stems fail to grow to normal size. If plants catch this disease and go untreated they will wilt or in some cases collapse.

Mycosphaerella graminicola (Septoria tritici)

This fungal disease can affect all plants, but has seen the most serious of cases in wheat. It seems to leave a leaf like blotch on the plant, but when this shows it is already too late to save it.

The plant doesn’t really show much other signs of infection other than in its blotchy leaves. It is also hard to eradicate this fungus from the soil or plant without needing to physically remove all it has infected.

There are some fungicides that work well to control the spread of this infection, but in some cases a resistance to the solution can occur. Researchers are trying constantly working on new formulas to help tackle this specific strain of fungal disease.


Dealing With Plant Diseases

Fungal diseases in plants are extremely common, many of which we are not fully aware how to treat and tame. The few listed above give an insight into the severity of the situation that gardeners, farmers and scientists have to deal with on a daily basis.

The common fungi disease can go unnoticed and untreated by even the most trained eye. Plants growing in hotter, humid climates will experience more fungal infections than those in a more milder climate, but neither go untouched.

Scientists are working hard to develop disease controls and solutions to help fight against these tough, common fungal infections. Whilst they may seem easy to tackle in this article, they can spread very quickly and kill acres of crops in a flash.

Common Plant Diseases Caused by Fungi
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Tina Martino

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.

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