Garlic rust

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender June 16, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 2 Comments

What is rust

Rust on plants is a fungal disease and it is not easy to control in humid weather as this helps the rust to spread easily. This year it seems to be a big problem on garlic. The weather was and still is just perfect for the rust to develop, rainy humid conditions and low light is the friend of the rust. Depends on when you planted your garlic you might or might not be able to save your bulbs. Generally autumn plantings are not affected too much or even if they do get rust you can cut off the infected leaves and wait a week or so more and harvest your crop, as normally by the time the rust strikes the bulbs in the ground are ready to pick. This year the wet and cold weather played a big advantage for the rust and the weaker young plants are more likely to get this disease. So if you planted your garlic in the spring it is most likely that they are not ready to pick yet but if they get rust it can slow down growth and eventually ruin the crop. For this reason it is advised to plant your garlic in the autumn. The best way is to plant garlic with overwintering broad beans, so by the time rust strikes your bulbs are ready to pull and when the aphids attack your broad bean plants the pods are filled and ready to pick too.


First the lower leaves or the tip of the younger leaves start to yellow. This is normal on older plants as the lower leaves yellow as the plants mature. After the yellowing small orange dots will appear on the leaves and this can be so severe that you will see a carpet of fine rust covering the soil. This is what you want to avoid as these are the millions of spores of the fungi which will infect other crops such as leeks and onions. The spores travel with wind so not much you can do to avoid getting them but once you identified the rust, remove all the infected leaves or harvest your bulbs if they are almost ready. Removing the infected leaves can give a few more weeks for your plants to develop the bulbs, as even the bare stem will produce some food. Burn the infected leaves.


Rotate your crops and don’t grow alliums in the same area year after year. And you can try to strengthen your plants with your homemade garlic spray as a prevention, this will encourage the plants to grow stronger tissue and garlic has antifungal and antibacterial properties. There is not much else you can do organically to prevent your crops from rust. If you have any other ideas, experiences please share with us below.

2 Responses to “Garlic rust”

  • Tony:

    Fantastic article; someone asked me on the allot’s about it; i’d never heard of it; i’ll get this printed out….Best wishes and Thank’s Tony

  • Helen Walker:

    How come garlic which has antifungal properties gets a fungal infection?

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