If you are anything like us, you see plants not only as beautiful objects but as living things that deserve a healthy, happy life. Hence, knowing and understanding how to prevent and treat plant diseases is crucial to a gorgeous and thriving garden that is able to yield and reproduce.
As master gardeners Simeon Wright and Christopher Starbuck put it, “A plant disease is defined as a response to environmental factors or pathogenic, disease-causing organisms that cause negative changes in the plant.” Here are the fundamentals to preventing pathogens and host plants from carrying and spreading disease as well as environmental conditions that favor disease.
Certified Plants: You can avoid bringing disease-causing bacteria, fungi and viruses into your garden by only introducing high quality seeds and certified disease-free plants or disease-resistant cultivars.
Watering Regimen: Water early in the day to give plants time to dry before nightfall, when they can become vulnerable to disease. Making sure soil is properly drained and ensure sufficient sunlight to keep plants from becoming soggy and to prevent root rotting.
Soil Conditions: Adding compost to soil and topping it with mulch will strengthen and shield plants from disease. Compost increases the number of pathogen-fighting microbes while creating favorable conditions for these good microbes while preventing germination of fungal spores. Mulch suppresses weeds and prevents contaminated water or disease-carrying organisms from splashing onto plants.
Adequate Space: When gardens are overcrowded, plants have to compete for sun, water and nutrients while also suffering from stagnant airflow. Giving each plant enough space to mature will ensure health and plenty of fresh air and resources.
Keep Clean: Always start with a clean landscape for planting by removing any dead plant material or debris from the previous season. Keep garden beds neat by weeding and pruning promptly. Practice good sanitation when using gardening tools by sterilizing them before and after working with individual plants. Remove plants that show signs of disease immediately.
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