Beans are susceptible to white mould infections during flowering and early pod-set. Small, circular, water-soaked lesions develop on the pods of infected flowers. Fallen petals on lower leaves or leaf axils are also common infection sites.
As the disease progresses, infected tissues develop a dense, cottony, white fungal growth. The leaves of severely infected plants will eventually turn yellow and fall off. Sclerotia (hard, black, irregular-shaped fruiting bodies) form in the stems and pods of infected plants.
White mould over-winters in infected crop residue and in the soil. The sclerotia will survive for up to five years in soil and crop residue.
The initial infection period requires moist soils and temperatures between 11 and 20º C (52-68º F.) A dense crop canopy often produces a cool, moist microclimate, ideal for white mould release. Plant surfaces must remain wet for 24-48 hours for infection to occur. Once established, the disease develops most rapidly between at temperatures between 20 and 25º C (68-77º F.) Fungal development essentially stops at temperatures over 30º C (86º F.)
If the weather conditions in the crop canopy are conducive to white mould infection, apply a white mould fungicide at 20% bloom followed by a second application 7-days later.