The spread of strawberry red core root disease (Phytophthora fragariae) from a heavily infested field with a history of 40 yr continuous strawberry growing, to and across an adjacent field where strawberries had never before been grown, was charted by growing bait plants of the highly susceptible alpine strawberry 'Baron Solemacher' at the intersections of an 8 m grid. Initially the fungus could not be detected by a soil sampling/glasshouse baiting test or in field grown baits, but after a very wet winter it was detected in the field grown bait plants. Most infections occurred in plants growing in a shallow depression running the length of the field, receiving drainage water from the higher infested site and where there had been standing water for much of the winter. The importance of topography was further demonstrated when baits were planted at commercial densities in two small areas of the field, one adjacent to and the other 18 m distant from the central depression. In the former many plants were infected within 2 months of planting whilst in the latter bait plants remained free of the disease for at least 18 months. The highly susceptible bait plants may be suitable for monitoring the health of commercial propagation stocks; they are easily propagated from seed and as they do not runner there is little hazard to stock purity.