Onion plants going to mush and falling before bulb is ready


#1

I was weeding around my onions. Three of my ~80 plants went all mushy near the growth point. What gives?


#2

Could be several different onion rots


#3

This may help to identify
Onion-Disease-Guide.pdf (3.3 MB)


#4

None of those quite seem to fit. I’ve seen a few more of them affected, but these have some kind of bulb to them already.

I’m wondering if I should just yank them and use whatever I can, before whatever it is spreads down into the bulb.

Earlier in the spring, a couple of the young plants also had the same phenomenon, and I found a tiny little worm in there.


#5

Looks like an onion maggot. Their feeding damage will cause soft rot to set in.


#6

So should I prematurely harvest any of them who are exhibiting this phenomenon, or is it already too late?


#7

OK. It sounds like center rot.


#8

So I yanked the five or six plants that had noticeable symptoms.

I cut the stems off about an inch above the bulb, and three of them as you looked at the cut section, you could see that the entirety of that one leaf was “soft”.

I cut those bulbs in half, and the inner scales were slimy, although everything outside they appeared to be edible. Unfortunately, one looked perfectly fine when I cut it, so it’s sacrificed, but I’m assuming I can probably eat that one. I’m not sure how the other ones are going to look.


#9

Would it do me any good to plant them in another spot next year? I can move them about 60 feet away, but that’s about as far as I can go.


#10


#11

So by the time I cured them all, it ended up at about 80% loss. I got 13 presumably usable onions out of 66 harvested.

Some were just entirely soft. Others seemed ok externally, but with gentle pressure, a nasty liquid would come out of the neck that smelled like rotten onions. Inside there were multiple rotten rings, not always adjacent.

The ones that did not ooze liquid I assumed to be ok, and the two we cut into and used did confirm that.