Fungus killing off U.S. basil crop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fungus killing off U.S. basil crop

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- A fungus is killing off the country's basil crop and could leave lovers of the herb feeling the pinch.

Basil downy mildew surfaced around 2007, and is slowly ruining the herb for growers nationwide.

The East Coast has been the hardest hit but the fungus is also affecting crops in California.

A farmer in Virginia says he had to kill almost 6,000 plants at a cost of $18,000.

Cornell University plant pathologist Margaret McGrath says the fungus is worst for home gardeners and herb farmers who may not have access to fungicides used by large commercial growers.

She says gardeners can help control the fungus by spacing plants farther apart and planting them in areas that get more sun.


Online Producer-Chris Becker

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