Diseases of beets: coasts and herbs

Diseases of beets: coasts and herbs

Among the most leafy vegetables grown in vegetable gardens, beets stand out, subdivided into beets from the coast and beets, the latter also called herbs. Together with spinach and beetroot they are part of the Chenopodiacee botanical family and are quite simple vegetables to grow and very versatile in the kitchen.

The beets can theoretically be sown or transplanted in the garden over a very long period, ranging from the first warmth of spring to the end of summer. So the harvest of these vegetables can be well staggered and distributed over time, which is also why they are so widespread in family gardens.

Collecting healthy and beautiful beet leaves is therefore the dream of many garden growers, but unfortunately these plants are not only threatened by snails and other insects: some diseases can arise in these species which cause their qualitative decline and deterioration.

How to prevent disease

Generally, fungal or cryptogamic plant diseases are favored by humidity and heat, sometimes it is inevitable that some plants get sick. However, there are some precautionary measures that allow you to limit the occurrence of this kind of problems when cultivating coasts and herbs, and they are very important in the organic garden. Let's see together what are the most important precautions for prevention.

  • Irrigate on the ground and not on the leaf. When irrigating, water should not be distributed on the foliage but only on the ground. The ideal solution is to set up a drip irrigation system that delivers water slowly and directly into the soil, without touching the plants.
  • The crop rotation. Respecting a crop rotation scheme that involves not repeating the beet planting consecutively but allowing at least 3 cycles of other crops to pass before growing them again on the same space is another good advice. In addition to beets, it is necessary to avoid repeating the other plants of the chenopodiacee family, such as beets and spinach.
  • Don't fertilize too much. Excessive fertilization can cause problems for the plant, this applies to liquid fertilizers but also to some fertilizers typical of the organic garden. Manure, loose or in pellets, in large doses causes an excessive concentration of nitrogen in the soil and plant tissues. Beets in particular are very prone to the accumulation of nitrogen in the tissues, which lose turgidity and are less resistant to diseases and aphid bites. In addition, the accumulation of nitrogen also means a vegetable that is not healthy for the body, since nitrites in excessive doses are toxic.
  • Use of vegetable macerates. Regularly spraying on macerated beets with strengthening action helps a lot in prevention. In this it is very useful that of horsetail, a plant that contains a lot of silicon and for this it favors the resistance of plant cells to fungal mycelia.
  • Remove any diseased leaves. If there are problems in the garden, it is always important to eliminate the parts damaged by the pathologies and if necessary also the entire plant. This is to stop the spread of the problem.
  • Renew the plants. The collection of beets in amateur gardens is often done by cutting only the outer leaves to allow new growths to the plants. This technique is certainly positive because it allows to optimize the production of the crop to the maximum, however over time the plants age and tend to get sick with greater probability. It is therefore necessary to consider the option of directly harvesting the entire beet strain, clearing the ground and carrying out new sowing or transplanting beets in other flower beds. This allows you to always have young plants, with less aptitude to get sick.

The main diseases of coasts and herbs

Given these premises on prevention, let's now see one for one which are the main pathologies that can affect the beets and with which ecological methods it is convenient to intervene to combat them.

Beet blight

We can find strains of this disease on many garden plants, unfortunately also beets are no exception. The downy mildew fungus determines the appearance of yellowish or reddish areas on the upper side of the leaves, and of a felty mold on the lower one. Downy mildew occurs mainly in the leaves of the central rosette, causing them to dry out. This pathology is more likely to affect spring and autumn crops because the ideal temperature for the fungus is 10 ° C and it slows down significantly when it exceeds 20 ° C.

In professional organic crops, plants can be treated with cupric products, strictly respecting the doses and methods of use indicated on the packaging. Copper-based products, with the same precautions of use, are valid for all other fungal diseases listed below and in very humid years they are also recommended in amateur gardens.


It is probably the most common disease of chard and beet, and can affect all green parts. It appears from mid-June and initially manifests itself with very minute roundish notches, which in a short time widen becoming circular spots bordered by halo. Finally, the spots converge, giving rise to necrotic areas that can lead to the complete drying of the leaf. Towards the end of the summer, especially in the presence of high humidity, the cercosporiosis occurs more severely on herbs and coasts. The pathogen survives in a quiescent way on crop residues, so removing them from the flower beds to put them in the compost heap is a good idea.

Chard rust

This is a rarer pathology, which manifests itself with yellow-orange powdery pustules, especially towards the end of summer. Also in this case we proceed with the elimination of all damaged parts and possibly with treatments.

Badly vinified of chard

It is a pathology that is found in very humid soils and in rainy periods. The taproot is covered with a wine-colored feltrosity, hence the name of mal vinato. The importance of promoting soil drainage by cultivating on raised flower beds is clear, especially in soils where the soil texture is very clayey.

Virosis: yellow and mosaic of chard

Diseases caused by viruses cannot be eradicated with cupric products or with other fungicides, they can only be best prevented by adopting the following measures:

  • defend plants from aphids, which are the main vectors of viruses;
  • uprooting infected plants and eliminating them without putting them in compost;
  • disinfect the knives with which we cut sick plants before using them for healthy ones.

The viruses affecting beets are various strains responsible for the "Yellowish", The symptoms of which are recognizable as yellowing starting from the apex of the outer leaves and then extending to the other leaves as well, which take on shades tending to orange. Another virus is that of "beet mosaic”, Which manifests itself with thickened and rippled leaf limbs and with the lightening of the veins on young leaves and small pale-colored areoles alternating with others of regular color.


The bacterium Pseudomonas syringae is responsible for "vascular blackening", a process of rotting with blackening of the internal tissues of the leaf rib, which sometimes reach the collar and root. Affected plants must be eradicated and suspicious ones can be treated with cupric products.

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