Wirestem gets its name from the damage it causes to plant stems at the soil line. The stem shrivels and becomes wire-like, leading to wilting and death. This fungal disease of cabbage-family plants attacks cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Plants that survive are less productive.

The wirestem fungus spreads easily during periods of cool, wet weather. High nitrogen levels in the soil favor the disease because the fungus thrives on succulent growth.

Prevention and Control
  • Add compost to soil to improve drainage.
  • Cull seedlings that show any symptoms of wirestem, because infected plants will not recover.
  • Space plants well apart to encourage fast drying of foliage.
  • Avoid hilling soil up over stems, which enhances the disease.

Last updated: 12/27/2022