How To Fight A Mold Infestation In Your Garden
If you’re just starting to build your backyard garden, the sudden occurrence of plant diseases can be an overwhelming experience. The majority of these plant diseases are due to fungal infection. When you see mold on your vegetables, you have to treat it immediately, so it doesn’t spread to other areas in your garden or your home.
Mold can thrive in soil, attack your plants, live in your pruning shears, and even spread to your patio. Once these fungal pathogens exploit the weaknesses of your plants, it can also further deplete your plants’ minerals and encourage the proliferation of insects.
Knowing Your Opponent: Common Fungal Diseases
To mitigate the growth of fungal pathogens, you have to know their different types and how they operate.
Black Spot: If you see dark spots on the upper side of the plant’s leaves, then you are dealing with black spot. Note that the spots are never present on the undersides of the foliage. These black spots will grow until the foliage turns yellow. Like any type of fungal infection, blacks spots thrive in water. So, they would commonly live in a droplet of water before reproducing and spreading. These fungal infections frequently occur in crowded, wet gardens, with overhead watering.
Botrytis Blight: You can suspect blight if your once beautiful flower petals begin to decay and rot. It will often appear as a fuzzy, gray mold. The fungus attacks during spring and fall when the weather is damp. High humidity and overcrowding with poor air circulation often cause the fungus to spread.
Powdery Mildew: When you notice your leaves have white, powdery growth, it’s a sign of powdery mildew. One unique characteristic of this fungus is that it does not need water to reproduce. It can survive in dry conditions, but they are most active in areas with poor air circulation and high humidity. Note that this fungus is a wind-borne disease.
Rust: This fungal disease appears as orange pustules similar to rust. They form on the leaves’ underside. When it spreads, it can cause the upper leaf surface to lose its color. These pathogens grow in moist areas and can spread through water, wind, and insects.
How to Protect Plants From Mold Infestation
According to Integrated Pest Management, the most effective way to combat fungal disease is to balance plant culture with an adequate response. Practicing the following methods can help you protect your garden from mold infestation:
Selecting plant varieties. Choose the ones that have a proven resistance to diseases and match the garden location to the planting requirements of the plant. When they are not adequately matched, plants get stressed quickly and become prone to infections.
Proper irrigation is key. Adjusting watering practices can reduce the spread of diseases. For instance, it is best to water close to the ground and early in the day to decrease moisture by nightfall.
Change environmental conditions. Mold thrives in warm, moist, and humid conditions. You can change the environment by providing proper air circulation and allowing increased lighting by pruning and properly spacing the plants. It would also help to rearrange the surroundings.
Pruning infected plant leaves judiciously and disposing debris properly. Leaves with the infection must not be included in compost. Also, it is always best to cut back until you see healthy plant tissue, so you have the assurance that no disease remains.
Sterilizing garden tools is necessary. If you suspect the presence of disease, wipe your pruning shears with a disinfectant before and after cutting to avoid spreading the disease.Soil sterilization is also crucial, particularly in warm climates. You can achieve this by preparing the soil before planting by raking the ground until it is flat. Water the soil until the moisture reaches 12 inches then cover it with plastic sheeting. Leave it for about four to eight weeks while it receives full sun.
Fighting Fungal Disease Before It Spreads
It is crucial to fight fungal disease as soon as possible. Some of the effective methods for this include:
Application of Neem Oil. Studies have shown that neem oil slows down the growth of fungi. When using this method, make sure to spray it late in the evening and apply it on all plant surfaces. Protect yourself by wearing goggles, gloves, a dust mask, and a long-sleeved shirt.
Special Fungicide. When the mold is so widespread that it’s affecting the greenhouse, patio, and even surfaces in the house, it might be necessary to use a fungicide. However, these are not available to the average gardener. Some home restoration services receive permission to administer potent chemical treatments to prevent the spread of mold. Asap Restoration (asaprestoration.net) suggests that mold must be stopped before it spreads since it can damage your property and also cause serious health risks.
When protecting edible harvests from fungal infections, it is always best to take into account the pre-harvest interval (PHI). The PHI is the recommended time between plant treatment and harvest. In general, the PHI depends on the crop and the disease it has. For instance, some fungicides are okay to apply for the treatment of vegetables like squash and tomatoes until harvest day. However, some vegetables like beans must have at least seven days interval between treatment and harvest.
When your crops are infected with mold, do not ignore it. Treat it as soon as possible. Fungi can grow rapidly, and before you know it, your garden is gone, and all your hard work goes down the drain. However, do not let a little mold dishearten you from starting and growing your own garden. Fungal pathogens are not a problem exclusive to new gardeners.
Even experienced ones have to deal with plant diseases as well. They are just more adept in responding to the needs of their plants by providing immediate treatment. It is all about having the right information and the right attitude. Practice gardening with an open mind, and you’ll soon enjoy the bounty.