Even on a farm that is managed by a professional, plants have the potential of being susceptible to plant diseases, especially those caused by Fungi.
Fungal diseases take up about 85% of the total amount of diseases that are caused on farms and they are popularly known to occur mostly under wet conditions because this is the period in which they find it easy to reproduce.
Diseases affect the physiological wellbeing and health of plants and they can cause significant damage to the overall health of the plant’s part such as the foliage, fruits, stems, and others.
Fungal diseases are caused by so many different fungal pathogens that are found in the environment; they could be air-borne, soil-borne, etc. and they cause visible damages to the plant.
Although fungal diseases are considered very difficult to control (if there is a control method), they can be easily treated and managed well when such disease occurs in the garden.
All plants are susceptible to plant diseases and finding every possible way to prevent the occurrence of these diseases will play a vital role in the plant’s health.
Fungal diseases can affect the aesthetic quality of farm produce, plants in the garden, and can also affect its overall productivity so it is always very important to watch out for them.
Fungal diseases affect plants of different kinds, tree plants, vegetables, fruit trees, ornamental plants, and a whole lot more; yet having a good understanding of the different kinds of disease are prone to and how to treat them will go a long way in boosting your plant’s survival. With the wide range of fungal pathogens that affect crop plants, knowing each and every one of them and being able to identify them with specific observable characteristics will go a long way in helping you manage your crops well against this disease. In this article, we will discuss more on the various ways through which you can identify the common fungal diseases in your garden and how best to treat them.
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Common Fungal Diseases: How to Identify and Treat
There are so many fungal diseases that can occur on farms (gardens) all depending on the type of plants that you grow.
There are different fungal diseases and some of these are very common such as the early blight, leaf spot, late blight, anthracnose, and others and they will all be discussed here.
Even when your garden is well managed, there are possible chances that your plants could become susceptible to any of these diseases so you should know all the possible fungal diseases that can affect your plant very well.
In subsequent paragraphs, we will give a concise explanation of each disease, how to identify them, and suitable treatment that can be used to control it.
This is one of the most common fungal diseases and it is caused by fungi in the genus Colletotrichum. This disease affects a wide range of plants and they cause dark, water-soaked lesions on plants stems, fruits, and foliage.
This disease is very destructive as they can damage farm produce in matters of days. The lesions created have pink, gelatinous mass coverings at the center of the plant as they develop.
Anthracnose disease can be treated by growing resistant varieties. You must always avoid going into the garden when the plants are still wet and the tools used in the garden should be well cleaned and disinfected to avoid the spread of diseases.
Affected plant parts should be gotten rid of and must be discarded as quickly as possible. Fungicides such as the liquid copper sprays and sulfur powders should be applied weekly during early spring when the foliage begins to develop.
Neem oil will also act as an effective fungicide for killing the eggs, larvae, and adult insects.
This disease is caused by the fungus Apriosporina morbosa and it is a common disease of plum, cherry, chokecherry, and apricot trees.
The black knot disease can be easily identified by the presence of the hard, uneven black galls that looks like it enwraps the twigs and branches of trees.
This disease should not be allowed to develop for too long because it could lead to the deterioration of the plant and affect its ability to produce fruits.
Treatment: you can treat this disease by looking for early signs of its occurrence during winter when the plant bears no leaves.
You should look for cracks, discolorations, and swellings on the plant. Remove the knots that can be found on the plant and remove the affected part entirely (using pruning knives or chisel).
Continue to check and remove galls as the season progresses. Get rid of removed twigs from the ground where the spores could survive. Clean the pruning tools thoroughly with a half cup of bleach to a gallon of water.
Make use of neem oil as a natural fungicide to avoid the spread of the disease and lime sulfur can also control the production of spores during the dormant periods.
This disease is caused by the fungus Alternaria solani which affects the plant’s tissue and it spreads by the action of rain splash.
This disease does affect the leaves tissue and they appear on the lower, older leaves forming a small brown spot with concentric rings that develops into a “bull’s eye” pattern. This plant disease can be carried by tomato seeds and potato tubers.
Treatment: carry out pruning and staking of the plants to improve air circulation and you should always disinfect your pruning tools after each cut.
The soil under the plants should be kept clean and free of debris and you should add a layer of compost to avoid splashing of spores.
Copper-based fungicides can also be used for controlling this disease and drip irrigation can also be used for keeping the leaves dry.
Debris found in the garden should be removed and destroyed after harvest and crop rotation should be carried out the following year.
Infected foliage should be packed and burned as soon as possible; avoid using them for composting. The Bonide Garden Dust is a safe bio-fungicide that can be used to control fungal problems and it contains copper and pyrethrins.
This disease is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans and it is a very common disease on tomato and potato plants. This disease occurs on the lower parts of old leaves and they develop water-soaked, grey-green spots.
When the disease matures the spots on the surface of the leaves get darkened and a white fungal growth develops on the undersurface of the leaves. It is a wind-borne disease that is carried by infected tubers, transplants, and seeds.
Grow resistant cultivars of susceptible plants. Create enough space between plants so as to ensure proper air circulation between the plants.
Always water the garden very early in the morning so as to give the plant enough time to dry before nightfall.
Remnants from tomatoes should be destroyed after harvest to prevent the spread of pathogens. You can apply copper-based fungicides or foliar sprays to control the disease.
This disease does occur on plants such as brassicas, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels, kale, turnips, rutabaga, and cauliflower.
This disease is very active when there is plenty of moisture and warm environments. They appear as black spots on the lower surface of leaves and they can spread by the action of water and rain.
Choose resistant varieties of the susceptible plant. Make sure that the garden environment is kept clean and free of debris and fallen fruits.
Practice mulching and properly cover the surface of the soil and it will also enhance the growth of weeds and avoid splashing.
Improve air circulation by pruning and disinfect the pruning equipment after use. Seeds and transplants should be from plants that are free of leaf spots.
Spray your plant with baking soda solution or neem oil. You can also apply sulfur sprays or copper-based fungicides to control leaf spot disease.
This disease is caused by a number of different fungal species that are closely related and it usually occurs on plants during the growing season on outdoor plants.
This disease occurs on young plants during the early growth period and they later appear as white to gray powdery growth on the upper surface of plant’s leaves. It usually affects young plants and is not usually common in matured plants.
Grow resistant varieties in sunny areas. Prune or stake the plants to improve air circulation. Disinfect tools with one part of bleach to four parts of water.
Use milk spray containing 40% milk and 60% water as a home remedy. Wash the foliage from time to time to prevent the spore-releasing cycle.
You should apply sulfur or copper-based fungicides to prevent infection on susceptible plants. Use Sulfur Burner; it helps to turn sulfur pills into dust and causes a change in the pH of the leaf.
Other Fungal diseases:
Some other fungal diseases include Rust, Fusarium wilt, gray mold, Downy mildew, Damping off, Corn smut, and lots more.
Each fungal disease has specific characteristics that make them very special and unique and being able to identify and treat them will go a long way. You should understand your plants and know how to control and treat every disease when necessary.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !