Agriculture: Cole Crops Pest Management Guidelines


This year-round IPM program covers the major pests of cole crops in the Central Valley, Central and Southern Coast, and southern desert of California.

About Preplant

What should you be doing during this time?

If nematodes have not been previously identified, take soil samples preferably while the previous crop is still in the field.

Select the field:

  • Consider the soil type, plantback restrictions from previously applied pesticides, and rotational plan for the field.
  • Consider crop, pest, and pest management history, especially:
    • Clubroot: if lime was not applied in the previous crop, apply lime this season or choose another field if the field has a history of clubroot.
    • Damping-off (wirestem): if the field has a history of severe damping-off, do not transplant cauliflower.
    • Nutsedge and field bindweed: if the abundance of either is moderate to high, consider planting to a different field.
    • Cyst nematodes: if present in soil samples and damage was noted in the previous crop, consider applying a nematicide or plant to another field.
    • Root-knot nematodes: if detected in soil samples, if the field has sandy soil, and these nematodes have caused problems previously in sugarbeet or other crops, consider applying a nematicide or plant to another field.
    • Fumigation of the previous crop may greatly reduce soilborne pathogens and nematodes and benefit the current crop.
  • Take a soil sample for analysis of nutrients, pH, and salinity to determine field suitability and soil nutrient management.

Manage weeds according to the Pest Management Guidelines.

Monitor for soil-dwelling pests such as garden symphylans and springtails:

  • Place at least a dozen covered baits (such as potato or beet slices) throughout the field.
  • Check the baits for symphylans (and springtails in the Salinas Valley) 24 to 36 hours later.

Manage if needed according to the Pest Management Guidelines.

Clean equipment and tractors before they enter the field to prevent the spread of soilborne pathogens, weed seeds, and perennial propagules. Screen surface water sources of irrigation to avoid spreading weed seeds.

Prepare the field:

  • Manage residue from weeds and the previous crop by properly cultivating the field to prevent the spread of garden symphylans, springtails, bulb mites, pathogens, and root- and crown-feeding insects, unless practicing reduced tillage or no-till agriculture.
  • Prepare seed beds and provide good drainage.

Make phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen fertilizer decisions based on soil tests. Make nitrogen fertilizer applications based on quantities of residual soil nitrate in the soil.

See the following publications for more information about fertilization requirements:

Manage disease.

  • Choose less-susceptible cultivars.
  • Use transplants and seeds that have been tested for pathogens and found to be pathogen-free, if possible. If seedborne pathogens such as Alternaria leaf spot, bacterial leaf spot, black rot, and black leg are detected, manage as necessary according to the Pest Management Guidelines.
Text Updated: 12/20