Hot, humid summer weather is just around the corner. That means fungal diseases cannot be far behind, especially when a sudden rainfall event is added to the mix. Here are a few tips to follow to help keep your plants free of the blights and needle-cast diseases that can wreck the summer for your trees and shrubs.
- Proper Watering- Fungi need moisture to germinate and infect plant material. Wet leaf and shoot surfaces are all they need to get things going. So apply water to soil to avoid wetting these plant surfaces. Also, prune densely foliated plants. This will improve air circulation and sunlight penetration. Both will help to dry plant foliage.
- Sanitation- Disease causing agents often overwinter in shedding leaves, flowers and twigs. Gather and dispose of these shedding plant parts as soon as possible. This will reduce the threat of re-infections from one year to the next.
- Keep Plants Healthy- Healthy plants are less likely to succumb to diseases. Keep them well-watered and mulched during the summer. This will maintain their vigor giving them a decisive edge against opportunistic fungi that often prey on water-stressed trees and shrubs.
- Disinfect Hand Tools- It's easy to spread disease organisms via hand tools because their spores are so pervasive in summer. Always remember to disinfect them with 70% alcohol or a 10% bleach solution, especially after pruning plants. This will reduce the chance of spreading diseases from one plant to the next.