Phytopathology is the study of plant diseases.

Chickpea with root rot
Chickpea plant (Cicer arietinum) with root rot. Note the symptomatic discoloration in some of its leaves.

Root rot


Root rot is a condition that occurs, because of poor aeration and microbial, especially water mold problems. Dead roots allow rot to spread throughout the plant. This can be a result of inadequate oxygenation, sanitation and stagnation. It is usually lethal, since there is no certain effective treatment. The effectiveness of predator fungus remains in question.

The excess water makes it very difficult for the roots to get the air that they need, causing them to decay.

Root rot is commonly caused by members of the water mold genus Phytophthora. Perhaps the most aggressive is P. cinnamomi. Spore from root rot causing agents do contaminate other plants, but the rot cannot take hold unless there is adequate moisture. Spores are not only airborne, but are also carried by insects and other arthropod.

A plant with root rot will not normally survive, but can often be propagated so it will not be lost completely. Plants with root rot should be removed and destroyed.

Root rot can occur in hydroponic applications, if the water is not properly aerated. This is usually accomplished by use of an air pump with an air diffuser, or by allowing water to drain away from appropriate hydroculture systems frequently on a time cycle. Problems associated with poor water aeration were principal reasons for the development of aeroponics.

Particular diseases


See also



  • Shurtleff, Malcolm C. (1962) How to Control Plant Diseases in Home and Garden Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, p. 73;
  • Yepsen, Roger B. Jr. (1976) Organic plant protection: a comprehensive reference on controlling insects and diseases in the garden, orchard and yard without using chemicals Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, pp. 194, 208, 212-213, 226, 247, 260, 295, 321, 333, 337, 469, 488, 577, and 629, ISBN 0-87857-110-8 ;
  • Ellis, Barbara W. and Bradley, Fern Marshall (eds.) (1992) The Organic gardener's handbook of natural insect and disease control: a complete problem-solving guide to keeping your garden & yard healthy without chemicals Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, p. 401, ISBN 0-87596-124-X ;