Abstract Splash droplet dispersal patterns were measured in field beans ( Vicia faba L.) using a fluorescent tracer and artificial target and trap surfaces. Droplet movement downwind was much restricted in dense crops; in leafless crops droplets travelled further but none were detected beyond 5 m. There was evidence that droplets travelled out of the crop and re-settled within a short distance downwind, also that droplets passed through gaps between plants or were impeded by local plant obstruction. Lycopodium clavatum spores stained in crystal violet were incorporated in the fluorescent tracer and their dispersal was compared with that of dry unstained Lycopodium simultaneously released. Spore catches on vertical cylinders and horizontal slides in dense and in partially defoliated crops were compared and efficiencies evaluated against rotorods as a standard. Generally, more stained than unstained spores were caught near the source but the dispersal gradients of stained spores were steeper and none was detected beyond 2 m. Cylinders were less efficient than slides as traps of unstained spores particularly in dense crops.