Learn How to Fight Plant Disease

by The Pros

The most common problems in the landscape are typically foliar leaf spots or blights. Leaf spot can be caused by both fungi and bacteria and result in dark blotches or spots on foliage. Root stem and crown rots are more serious diseases and will make plants yellow, droop and often stunt growth. We can also throw in the discussion the mildews and molds that thrive in Tallahassee.

But the bottom line is we can prevent infection by selecting the right plants for the right site. Plants need the correct soil and light conditions and to be planted at the correct depth. Don't mulch too closely to the stems or crowns and keep the plants properly fertilized. Keep weeds out of the garden so they don't compete for nutrients.

The greatest contributor to many plant diseases is improper water management. We can't control the weather but we can choose when we water plants under normal circumstances. Remember absolutely no overhead watering of plants in the evening which leaves foliage wet for long periods and encourages the growth of leaf spots, blights and mildews. When foliage stays wet over night it is a disaster.

Keep the garden clean, removing dead foliage. Anticipate problems for the next season. Any diseases identified this year will likely produce inoculum that leads to more problems next season unless the proper timing and treatments are scheduled to reduce the impact.

Whenever we speak about diseases remember that diseases are the exception not the rule. For the problems to occur you have to have a susceptible plant, the right environment and a pathogen.

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