Type: Diseases

Parsnip canker (Itersonilia pastinacae and others)

A number of different species of soil fungus infect damaged or stressed parsnips - damage can be physical, such as hoeing, or as a result of pests such as carrot fly. Stress can result from poor drainage, acidic soil, fresh manure or sowing too early. Bigger roots seem to be more susceptible than smaller ones. The disease normally begins on the shoulders of the root and, although the root is largely still edible, it does prevent storage.


  • Rough orange-brown patches on roots and spots on the leaves and/or just black or purplish rot

Prevention & control

  • Grow a disease-resistant variety
  • Good rotation and thorough clearing of the previous crop is crucial to prevent build up of the disease in the soil
  • Lime acid soil
  • Prevent damade from carrot fly with enviromesh
  • Get seedlings off to a stronger start by sowing later
  • Sow seed closer together to produce smaller roots
  • Apply manure for the previous crop rather than just before planting
  • Affected roots should be lifted first and eaten rather than being stored
Top tips
Login or register above to add your own tip.