Master Gardener: Prevention is the key to fighting plant disease – The News-Messenger


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Now that the growing season is coming to an end and the harvesting is in full swing, look back to correct some of the disease problems in your garden because nothing is more frustrating (for you as a vegetable gardener) than to see the fruits of your labor lost to disease. Diseases occur when environmental conditions are suitable for pathogens to develop on susceptible hosts. Some pathogens can attack all plant parts, whereas others attack only selected area tissues.Many types of organisms cause infectious diseases of plants, but the five major groups of plant pathogens are fungi, water molds, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes.Adverse conditions such as improper soil pH, nutrient deficiencies and toxicities, soil compaction, excess water, herbicide damage and more will affect the plant. The plants weakened by these adverse conditions may be further predisposed to attack by pathogens.Prevention is the key to disease management in the home garden. Although many foliar diseases such as leaf spots and mildews, are generally manageable once they are observed, root diseases generally are not.  You might take pictures and keep a journal so next year you can correct the situation. The best method is prevention by choosing resistant varieties and keeping the garden clear of weeds and infected debris.  You can contact your extension office for approved pesticides for your vegetable plants.Good gardening habits and effective treatment help prevent, stop, and control disease.• Test the soil• Plant healthy stock, resistant varieties; disease-free seed and transplants•​​​​​​​ Follow proper crop rotation•​​​​​​​ Use organic mulches and amendments•​​​​​​​ Void overhead watering•​​​​​​​ Water early in the day•​​​​​​​ Don’t crowd plants•​​​​​​​ Don’t work a wet garden•​​​​​​​ Treat with a trusted, proven fungicide•​​​​​​​ Keep a journalSue La Fountaine is a Master Gardener with the Sandusky and Ottawa Counties Extension Offices.
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