The Q&A Archives: Bush Bean Plants Die at Ground Level

Question: Green bean and wax bean plants start dying when setting on fruit. They seem to break off at ground level with the slight pressure of picking beans. It appears that stalk is dryed or pinched off at ground level. What causes this?

Answer: It may be caused by a Rhizoctonia fungus, the same family of fungi that cause damping off in seedlings, but I can't say for sure without seeing the plants. If this has been happening year after year in your garden, then try a new plot of ground. Build a raised bed and add lots of compost or aged manure to build humus, because organic matter contains beneficial organisms that fight plant pathogens, and improves soil drainage. If you want to have the culprit identified for certain, give your county extension agent a call (ph# 303/824-6673), and they can help you out. Here's to a successful hill o'beans this season!

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