Monday, January 24, 2011

Plant Fungal Diseases and Humid Weather

Sooty mould on citrus
The warm humid weather of recent days and weeks is providing many plant fungal diseases with ideal conditions to attack our garden plants.

It is a good time to check your garden and take a close look at the plants for signs that they are sick. There are many reasons that your plant might look sick. Not all sicknesses are caused by disease. Go to the Sick Plant section of the Kiwicare website to identify what might be making your plant look sick. Stresses such as lack of water, or too much water, low nutrients, too little or too much light, frost damage, insect damage and others can harm plants and make them look sick. Stressed plants are more susceptible to disease and keeping your plants healthy should be your first line of defence. Here are some hints to making sure your plants have the best chance of fighting off disease themselves:

  • Choose plants that are disease resistant - Some varieties of plants are selected or bred to have natural resistance to disease. Ask your garden centre or nursery for advice when picking new plants for your garden.
  • Pick the right place in your garden for the plant - Most plants obtained from garden centres or nurseries will have instructions relating to the needs of the plant, such as light levels, soil type, pH (acidity/alkalinity) and moisture. Also ask your garden centre staff and look up books or online reference material.
  • Pick the right time to plant your plant - Planting inevitably puts some stress on a plant as it is being put in a new environment. Make sure that the extra stress is as low as possible. For example don't plant out in hot or dry or windy or frosty conditions. Always chose a time when the plant will be able to settle into its new habitat. Give it the best start by watering well and providing the nutrients it needs in the form of compost of fertiliser.
  • Clear disease away from your plants - Keep the soil around your plants clear of dead or diseased leaves and twigs. Cut back and away from your plants any diseased growth. Remove any leaves or branches of your plant as soon as disease is noticed or treat with the appropriate curative and protective product. Thin out growth on dense plants to encourage air flow and reduce humidity.
  • Regularly check your plants - The sooner a problem is observed and dealt with the better for the plant. Check for insects pests and insect damage. Insects both carry disease and wounds from insect damage may allow wind borne diseases to enter. Protect from and prevent insect pests. Encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs that eat aphids.
  • Pro-actively treat susceptible plants - Some plants such as many rose types are at constant risk from fungal diseases such as black spot and rust and insect attack from aphids, even when healthy. Protective treatment with systemic insecticides and fungicides can help prevent disease getting hold.
Fungal Diseases

The majority of plant disease is caused by fungal infection. Plant fungal diseases include black spot, rust, downy mildew, powdery mildew, blight, botrytus, verrucosis, dollar spot, red thread, and many others. These diseases can be spread from other diseased plant material through direct contact, transfer by insects, through the air as spores and through the soil via root systems. Warm moist conditions will encourage fungi in most cases and particular attention should be payed to your plants when the weather is humid. Thinning out plant growth will encourage air flow through around leaves and stems and help to prevent fungal disease.
Choose the Kiwicare product suitable for the protection of your plant from particular fungal disease or to cure your plant once it has become infected by using to the Fungal Problem Solver table.

What is a cheerful mushroom's favorite drink?
Fun guy cider.

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