Crown Gall

Crown Gall

What is Crown Gall?

Crown gall is a plant disease caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. It affects a wide range of plants, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. The disease is characterized by the formation of abnormal growths, or galls, on the stems, roots, and leaves of infected plants. These galls can range in size from small, wart-like growths to large, woody masses that can seriously damage or kill the infected plant.

What Causes Crown Gall?

Crown gall is caused by the insertion of a piece of the bacterium’s DNA into the plant’s genome, which leads to the formation of the galls. The bacteria are typically transmitted through wounds in the plant, although they can also be transmitted through contaminated soil or water. Once the bacteria enter the plant, they begin to multiply and produce a toxic chemical that causes the plant’s cells to divide and grow abnormally, resulting in the formation of galls.

Where Is Crown Gall Found?

The galls produced by crown gall can vary in size and shape, depending on the plant species and the location of the infection. In trees, galls are often found on the roots and lower stem, although they can also occur on the branches and leaves. In shrubs and herbaceous plants, galls are typically found on the stems and roots. Galls can be round or oval in shape and can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter.

What Species Does It Affect?

Crown gall can affect a wide range of plant species, but it is most commonly found on fruit trees, such as apple, pear, and cherry trees. It can also affect ornamental trees and shrubs, including roses, lilacs, and willows. The disease is most commonly found in warm, humid climates, although it can occur in any region where the bacterium is present.

Fruit Trees

  • Apple Trees
  • Pear Trees
  • Cherry Trees

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

  • Roses
  • Lilacs
  • Willows

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of crown gall can vary depending on the plant species and the location of the infection. In general, infected plants may have stunted growth, yellowing or wilting leaves, and reduced fruit production. Galls may be visible on the stems, roots, or leaves of the plant, and the infected tissue may appear dark or necrotic. In severe cases, the galls can cause the plant to become weakened and more susceptible to other diseases or pests.

  • Stunted growth
  • Yellowing or wilting leaves
  • Reduced fruit production
  • Galls should be visible on the stems, roots, or leaves

Prevention and Treatment

Crown gall can be difficult to control, as the bacteria can survive in the soil for many years. The best way to prevent the disease is to avoid wounding the plant, as this can provide an entry point for the bacteria. In addition, it is important to avoid planting in soil that has previously been infected with crown gall, as the bacteria can persist in the soil for many years.

If a plant is infected with crown gall, it is important to remove and destroy any infected tissue as soon as possible. This can help to prevent the spread of the disease to other plants. In addition, it is a good idea to sterilize any pruning tools or other equipment that comes into contact with infected plants, as the bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated tools.

There are a few chemical treatments that can be used to control crown gall, although they are not always effective. These treatments typically involve the application of antibiotics or other chemicals to the infected plant. However, these treatments can be expensive and may not always be effective, especially if the infection is widespread.


In conclusion, crown gall is a serious plant disease that can affect a wide range of plants, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. It is caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which can be transmitted through wounds, contaminated soil, or water. Symptoms of the disease include the formation of galls on the stems, roots, and leaves of infected.

Crown gall can be a serious problem for commercial orchards and nurseries, as it can significantly reduce the productivity and viability of infected plants. It is also a concern for home gardeners, as infected plants may not be as attractive or may not perform as well as healthy plants. To reduce the risk of crown gall, it is important to purchase plants from reputable sources, practice good cultural techniques, and be aware of the symptoms of the disease. By taking these steps, you can help to protect your plants from this destructive disease. Looking for another Tree Disease?

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