Pea (Pisum sativum L. ‘Elf’) root rot suppression by dinitroaniline herbicides could not be explained by a direct effect on the host. Pre-incubation of pea roots with 0.1 ppmw of oryzalin (3,5-dinitro-N
4-dipropylsulfanilamide) or trifluralin (α,α,α-trifluoro-2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-p-toluidine) in solution culture did not alter their resistance to root rot. Furthermore, 0.1 ppmw of oryzalin or trifluralin did not alter the exudation of electrolytes or α-amino compounds from pea roots. Most of the dinitroaniline herbicides significantly inhibited mycelial radial growth of pathogen, Aphanomyces euteiches Drechs., at 1.0 ppmw and inhibited asexual spore production at 0.1 to 1.0 ppmw. Dinitramine (N
4-diethyl-α,α,α-trifluoro-3,5-dinitrotoluene-2,4-diamine), fluchloralin [N-(2-chloroethyl)-2,6-dinitro-N-propyl-4-(trifluoromethyl)aniline], and oryzalin inhibited A. euteiches mycelial growth and asexual reproduction more effectively than the other dinitroaniline herbicides studied. The production of motile zoospores, the infecting propagule of the pathogen, was the most sensitive stage in the life cycle and was completely inhibited by 0.01 ppmw of all dinitroaniline herbicides tested. Since this concentration is below that estimated in the soil solution at registered rates of application, inhibition of motile zoospore production is sufficient to explain root rot suppression. Inhibition of pathogen motility resulted in a 2-week delay in the infection of pea roots. This delay allowed sufficient additional plant growth that the peas could better withstand the effects of subsequent disease development.