Gardening

Main plant diseases

Alas, the eternal and untouchable beauty of the gardens and all its inhabitants … until the day when plants and flowers radically change their appearance and are forced to drop! For emergency situations, know what are the main diseases that can affect the plants in your garden and the best way to cure them.

They infiltrate their garden under the most varied disguises, often confusing the gardener himself who is not always able to distinguish the symptoms of the main diseases that affect plants: bacteria, fungi and viruses. This trio attacks plants with and without flowers, but they differ in one aspect – a fungus survives perfectly in the soil, while a bacterium or virus needs a host plant to survive.

The causes

  • Fungi

    It is estimated that 70% of the main plant diseases are caused by fungi – tiny organisms (only visible under a microscope!) That produce huge amounts of spores (cells that separate and divide, without fertilization, to form new cells) , which are quickly spread thanks to wind, water, insects or animals.
    There are more than 10,000 types of fungi that, if they cannot penetrate the cuticle and epidermis (the strongest barriers in a plant), attack the most sensitive areas – the shoots or areas already damaged by insects. An infected plant can release up to 100 million spores, an amount that is difficult to combat, as it quickly degrades plant cells, simultaneously producing toxins that interfere with the full functioning of your body.
  • Viruses

    Even smaller than bacteria, viruses can only reproduce from the cells of the plant itself.
    They infiltrate the plants from the leaves or the foot, usually in areas already injured by insects, but they need a means of transport, which can be an insect, pollen or some infected seeds. Once infiltrated, the virus (s), being that plants can be attacked by more than one virus at the same time, move through the vascular vessels, causing diseases that contaminate the organism of the plant.
  • Bacteria

    Diseases caused to plants by bacteria are the least frequent, for one simple reason – to grow and multiply bacteria need water and heat.
    Therefore, they are more dependent on hot and humid climates to contaminate plants. Transported by water, insects or animals, the bacteria infiltrate through a flower or a cut on a leaf or on the foot, which can cause anything from purely superficial damage, to wilting or even death.
  • Nutritional deficiencies

    Sometimes the disease of a plant is not due to bacteria, fungi and viruses, but rather to a poor diet.
    If you have pale leaves or yellowish vascular vessels, it may be a sign that you are suffering from nutritional deficiencies. In this case, the remedy is called “a good fertilizer”, suitable for the plant in question.

The symptoms

  • A sick plant has several changes in its metabolism, color, different organs and anatomy, in addition to being able to produce abnormal substances.
  • Some warning signs are: downy mildew (a white powder); gray or black mold; rust-colored bubbles; a black mass or growth; black spots; yeasts and the appearance of mushrooms, among others.

The cures

With the plants requiring “medical attention”, it is clear that instinct tells him to go running to get his faithful friend the “pesticide”. However, and because it is a product with extremely potent chemicals, which unfortunately when doing something good are polluting the environment, it is best to study all other possible options. Here is some help:

  • There are “symptoms” that, looking very serious and strange, can be purely transient, disappearing within a few days or when the weather improves. Be aware!
  • Sometimes, just removing the infected flowers, buds, leaves and/ or feet will eliminate the problem. Do not use these remains for composting, get rid of them immediately!
  • As a last resort, use the appropriate pesticide, opting for a low-toxic solution. Follow the instructions to the letter and remember that you will not solve the situation by spraying the contents of an entire container on a poorly sick plant – you may end up intensifying your problem with the death of the plant, neighboring plants and even the ground!
  • Prevention is essential for a garden that breathes health. Want to know what to do? Start with healthy soil, because healthy land produces healthy plants and healthy plants can more easily resist disease. Quality soil must be slushy and enriched with fertilizer and composting techniques.
  • Keep your garden free from weeds and plant debris, which are conducive to the development of all kinds of diseases.
  • Diseases are often transmitted from plant to plant due to poorly washed garden utensils. Make sure that all your tools are properly disinfected (especially when used to cut or eliminate leaves and other diseased parts), with a mixture of water and bleach.
  • During the watering process, be careful not to splash the foliage of the plants. By splashing from the soil to the leaves, you are putting them at risk of contracting a disease. If possible, it should be watered early in the morning, so the plants have time to dry before the peak of the sun which can seriously burn very wet plants. On the other hand, the longer the leaves are wet, the more likely they are to be attacked by bacteria, fungi and viruses.
  • It is equally important to allow good air circulation between all plants. In addition to drying out more quickly, breezes can easily take diseases away before they have time to “stick” to a plant.
  • If you find that, year after year, the same symptoms and diseases continue to devastate your garden, it would be best to start thinking about introducing new varieties of plants and flowers.
  • When buying new plants, inspect them very well before taking them home or opt for self-proclaimed varieties that are, in fact, disease resistant plants.
  • Finally, when in doubt consult a specialist or purchase a guide on the different bacterial, viral and fungal diseases, as well as their respective treatments, to help you in less healthy situations!
  • Basically, prevention is better than cure… for a resplendent garden!

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