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Study finds lime can combat clubroot

Can lime reduce clubroot in canola if environmental conditions and timing are right?

Yes, say researchers.

“Now we know, when all things are right, lime can significantly reduce the disease severity and have quite impressive results,” said Stephen Strelkov, a University of Alberta plant pathologist who co-authored the study.

U of A researchers tested two lime products and concluded it is an option against clubroot, in addition to using canola varieties bred to resist the disease.

“Although genetic resistance is the most economical and effective way to control clubroot disease in canola, breeders will not be able to keep up with emerging and shifting pathotypes across the country,” said Nicole Fox, who evaluated lime products as part of her master’s degree at the U of A. The findings are published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology.

“It is important to supplement resistant cultivars with other practices to ensure the longevity of the most effective tool, (that) being genetics.”

Using lime is nothing new for those who grow vegetable brassicas such as broccoli and cabbage. Market gardeners mix it into the soil to increase pH and neutralize highly acidic soil, which makes conditions less favourable for clubroot development.

“Our idea was to try to see if we could adopt and compare to see if we could apply some of those same principles to the management of clubroot on canola, which is obviously quite a different crop,” said Strelkov.

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