Soil Pests and Pathogens


Soilborne fungal and bacterial diseases along with pests, such as parasitic nematodes, are a huge management challenge for Washington producers. However, management options such as fumigation are expensive and can kill off beneficial microbial communities that could compete with pathogens. There is still a lot we do not understand about the connections between soil health and disease suppression, but this is an active area of research and it is important to explore the positive and negative trade-offs of soil-building practices for soilborne pest pressures.

potato showing lesions on skin
This potato has potato scab, which is caused by a bacteria-like organism, Streptomyces scabies. The scabs or lesions can impact the ability to market the crop. Photo credit: Deirdre Griffin LaHue

Managing soil pests and pathogens

There are a variety of pests and pathogens that affect different crops and different regions. Check out our resources to find information that is pest and pathogen-specific.


For spinach seed growers, WSU Extension specialist Lindsey DuToit has a soil testing program.


Resources About Soil Pests and Pathogens