Clubroot is continuing to spread across Alberta and has now even been identified in the Peace country and Northwestern Saskatchewan. We need to continue to put our best foot forward in reducing and slowing the spread of the disease.

Clubroot is soil-born and causes clubs to form on the roots of canola and other Brassica species, such as stinkweed. The clubs or galls restrict water and nutrient flow from the soil into the plant causing premature ripening and severe yield loss. Galls also release spores back into the soil increasing the soil spore load for amplified infection in subsequent canola crops. The disease favors warm, moist soils with a pH of 6.5 or less.

The first case of clubroot in Canada was found in Central Alberta in 2003.1 With the impact that clubroot has had on Central Alberta, we can use the lessons learned there to help identify and implement best management practices for slowing the spread of clubroot in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

The key factors are recognition, rotation, sanitation and variety selection.


Farmers and industry professionals will need to be diligent in scouting for clubroot. The disease spreads in moving soil and commonly first appears where equipment enters the field. Most producers enter, turn right and unfold or set down their equipment, depositing the most soil in an area that we often ignore when field scouting. Low lying areas with excess moisture are also ideal for patches of clubroot.

Indicators of infected canola plants include wilting, premature ripening and clubs on the roots. Symptoms start in patches, growing as tillage and seeding equipment moves through the soil. Keep an eye out for visual symptoms of clubroot in late summer and early fall. The simplest approach is to inspect roots in suspect patches being aware that galls can be quite small in newly infected fields. Soil sampling for clubroot is another option, however, choosing the right sampling area is key. A sample taken outside of the infected patch will result in a negative reading.

Roots affected by Clubroot


While a long canola rotation will not prevent clubroot from being introduced to your farm, or prevent the spread of this pathogen around the field and to other fields, long rotations will help prevent the build-up of clubroot resting spores.2


If soil doesn’t move, clubroot can’t move either. There are many factors out of our control, such as soil moved by water and wind erosion. However, the soil that moves between fields on equipment is manageable. Cleaning dirt off boots/shoes, field signs, trucks, and machinery between fields will be important. A 1-2% bleach solution in a spray bottle or backpack sprayer can be used to disinfect equipment before switching fields.3 Make sure any contract, oil field, logging and hunting activities are being monitored, so that they do not arrive to your field with mud coated equipment.