November 8, 2022

Common garden diseases graphic

Watch out for these common garden diseases in your garden & yard – and follow these tips for dealing with them naturally…

While we all would love to have perfect gardens, free from pests and diseases, the fact is that most gardeners will have to deal with one or more of these issues at some point. If your goal is to avoid chemicals and support a healthy and balanced ecosystem in your garden and yard, you may need to get creative in choosing your methods for dealing with problems.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with a garden riddled with pests and diseases. In fact, a healthy and diverse garden with healthy soil should have minimal problems, especially as you take steps to develop a balanced ecosystem that includes beneficial insects and other natural means of support.

That said, even the most devoted gardener may sometimes be faced with challenges. Common garden diseases are just that – common – and if you don’t take steps to treat the problem, they can spread to the rest of your garden.

Here are some of the most common garden diseases, how to identify them, and how to deal with them naturally to restore your garden to good health:

Blight

There are several types of blight that can affect vegetables, flowers, trees, and ornamental plants. While each type of blight may differ in its appearance, they are each caused by fungi that can be found in the soil, and if left untreated, they can stunt or even kill your plants.

Here are 3 of the most common types of blight and what to do about them:

Alternaria (Early) Blight

…This type of blight is caused by Alternaria fungi, and begins with black spotting on the lower leaves of plants. These patches grow larger and spread, causing leaves to wither and die. Indented, shrunken spots can appear on branches or on fruit or roots. You can apply baking soda sprays to help prevent this disease, but once it has taken hold in a plant, remove entire infected segments and dispose of them.

Fire Blight

Fire blight is most serious to arborists, as it impacts apple and pear fruits the most. It can also strike other fruit trees, cane fruit like raspberries, and roses. Shoots or branches which contract fire blight will wither and turn black. To combat this, remove infected shoots or branches immediately before the disease can spread into the plant’s roots.

Phytophthora (Late) Blight

Caused by bacteria (Phytophthora infestans), this blight is better known as potato blight and was the cause of the Irish potato famine. In potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, it’s caused by too much moisture, and shows up as grey-green water-soaked spots on the lower leaves that can gradually spread, followed by cankers on stems. Left untreated, the plant will rot. Applications of compost tea may help prevent this disease. Prune off and destroy any impacted vegetation on ornamentals such as azalea, rhododendrons, holly, or lilacs, and on lightly-affected vegetable plants. Remove heavily diseased vegetable plants entirely and destroy them to prevent spread.

Rot

Rots typically affect the wood, stems, roots, flowers, or fruits of plants, trees, and shrubs. They create decay, spread easily, and can cause rapid plant death, so it’s important to deal with them as quickly as possible once you notice a problem. Be on the lookout for these 3 common types of rot:

Stem & Root Rot

By the time this disease is easily noticed, it’s already doing severe damage. Initially, this may look like a leaf blight as it causes lower leaf spotting, but the stems of plants will also show signs of spotting. At the same time, the disease may be rotting away the roots, preventing the plant from taking in nutrients. Fight these diseases by ensuring you have well-draining soil, doing a soil drench of fungicide or beneficial bacteria, and removing infected plant material.

Wood Rot

Impacting trees primarily, wood rot is spread almost entirely through tree wounds. Impacted wood can be described as dry, crumbly, powdery, discolored, or stained. Further, fungal growths can form in trees that have wood rot, usually at the site of the infestation. These mushrooms are a sign of severe disease. Trim out infected branches to try to save the tree, but if the trunk is impacted, the tree may need to be removed.

Heart Rot

Striking at the heart of plants such as celery, root crops, or trees, heart rot causes the center core of the plant or the plant’s root to rot from the inside out. Unfortunately, once it sets in, heart rot is extremely hard to destroy, so smaller plants such as celery or root crops may need to be discarded. It is slow-growing in trees, which may mean your tree can survive for quite a while yet. If you suspect heart rot in your tree, contact an arborist for advice on proper care techniques.

Here are a few more common plant diseases to watch for:

Powdery Mildew

Whitish, powdery growth that coats the leaves of plants. Use natural fungicidal sprays like neem oil to combat, and prune yellowed leaves and stems, destroying them to prevent spread. Feed and mulch to improve plant resistance.

Rust

This disease causes brownish or yellowish nodes on the back of leaves. Prune off diseased foliage and destroy to avoid spread.

Sooty Mold

This black mold forms on the sticky plant juices extracted by sap-sucking insects, and is often found on evergreen shrubs. Kill off the pests and wash the mold off the leaves thoroughly. Prune if necessary.

Club Root

This is caused by a slime mold and impacts mostly brassicas. Infected soil is usually the cause of spore spread. To prevent this, rotate your crops and keep brassicas out of the infected soil for a couple of years to allow the spores to die off.

Check out this infographic for a handy guide to these common garden diseases and more:

Source: Fix.com Blog

 

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About the author 

Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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