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How to identify & treat white rust on plants

Part of growing your own food is encountering pests and diseases in the garden. Part of being able to correcrtly and effectively treat pests and diseases in the garden is being able to quickly identify and correctly treat them. This page is all about white rust in the garden – a very destructive plant disease that is said to be uncurable.

The video that I made where I tracked white rust on my brassica plants is a detailed 4-week observation on the treatment of white rust on plants. It included the use of different disease treatment products and the effectiveness thereof. 

How do you treat white rust on plants?


I am rather dissapointed that from what I could find online, by various well known and followed gardening content contributors, that there was a general consensus that there was no cure for white rust on plants. From the information available online the only cure for white rust is said to be complete removal of the plant. Now this is partially true and is what made my experiment sucessful, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.


Based on a comprehensive 4-week detailed observation of white rust in the garden that I conducted, I found a very effective treatment regime and product which I will outline below.

Steps to treat white rust:


As with all things in the garden, prevention is better than cure and this is incredibly true with white rust. If you have had issues with specific plants and white rust in the past then spray preventatively with copper fungicide when plants are seedlings to build up immunity. Keep a very close eye and be aggressive as quickly as possible. White rust is not a garden disease you want to leave or find late as treatment will be longer and the plant less able to provide the fruit or vegetable it was intended to.

Step 1: remove ALL infected leaves. When you remove leabes with white rust on make sure you put them into a bag and throw them into the bin. DO NOT compost leaves or any part of the plant that has white rust on. White rust spores can survive in compost and cause future white rust outbreaks in other parts of the garden in future. 


Step 2: Start a weekly application of copper fungicide. Of the 3 different products said to target white rust, in 4 weeks only the copper fungicide proved to delivery any significant results. It is important to not skip a week. You need to keep the weekly spray of copper fungicide going to achieve results. 

Step 3: Continuously check for any newly infected leaves  with the weekly application of copper fungicide and dispose of them correctly. The combination of fungicide spray with preventative measures of removing infected leaves gives the plant the best chance at recovery.


Step 4: Feed your plants. Plants use energy to fight disease and when removing leaves it spends energy making new leaves so give it some additional nutrients to keep it strong and thriving. 


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