Fusarium Root Rot

Fusarium root rot disease in tomatoes can cause the stem surface to turn brown and have brown and rotting roots. Leaves will also turn brown or black and eventually wilt.

The disease is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum radicis-lycopersici (FCRR). Infected plants may be stunted, and as they begin to bear fruit, their lower leaves turn yellow and wilt. Plants appear to recover at night after wilting during the warmest part of the day. Infected plants may either totally wilt and die, or survive in a weakened state, producing reduced quantities of inferior fruit.

How to Identify Fusarium Root Rot

Fusarium root rot
Early symptoms of Fusarium crown and
root rot in seedlings include stunting and yellowing.
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Fusarium root rot
Infected tomato transplants (left and center)
next to healthy transplant (right)
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
  • The fungus attacks both seedlings in the greenhouse and mature plants in the garden.
  • In seedlings the disease causes stunting, yellowing, and premature loss of cotyledons (seed leaves).
  • In advanced cases the fungus causes root rot, wilting, and seedling death.
  • Plants either die or persist in a weakened state, producing inferior fruits.


  • Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radicis-lycopersici (FCRR) causes both crown and root rot.
  • The disease is worsened by cool temperatures (10˚C to 20˚C/50˚F to 68˚F).
  • Other factors that encourage the disease are soil with poor drainage, low soil pH, and ammoniacal nitrogen.

Preventative Measures

  • Sterilize the soil and avoid use of wooden stakes, as the fungus can survive between seasons, or disinfect or use new stakes each season.
  • Plant only disease-free transplants.
  • Disinfect transplant trays by steaming before reusing.
  • Avoid over-watering.
  • Rotate crops each year.


Natural remedies

  • Remove and destroy infected plants.
  • Add more organic matter to your soil for tomatoes before planting.

Chemical treatments

  • Fumigate the soil before planting and immediately cover with a plastic mulch.

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Credits for technical content

  1. Florida Plant Disease Management Guide


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