Fungus and disease can wreak havoc on your gardens by developing on one plant and quickly spreading to others. At Rainbow Gardens we strive to make every effort to offer you the healthiest plants possible, but sometimes weather conditions and other variables you can’t control can bring on disease. But you CAN control some variables that cause disease to develop. Diligent observation in the garden, and being mindful of the following tips below increases your chances of avoiding disease altogether.
1. Plant choice: There are many plants that have natural resistance to disease and pest issues. Choose these and you may not even have to worry about battling disease in your gardens.
- Rainbow Gardens strives to carry a big selection of plants that either have natural resistance to disease or have been improved on by growers (ex: we only carry mildew resistant Crape Myrtle varieties).
- Native plants are adapted to our climate and generally have way fewer issues with disease so these are a great choice. Check out this link with some native plant options you can incorporate into your landscape; you’ll be able to find many of them at Rainbow Gardens.
2. Crop Rotation: If your plant develops a disease you can’t control and it needs to be discarded, choose a different type of plant to replace it with. The likelihood of a disease attacking the same variety and type of plant is higher than if you replace it with a plant of a different species.
3. Air Circulation: Make sure your plants have enough room for air to circulate freely amongst them. Crowding plants not only inhibits them from growing to their full potential, it also breeds disease issues.
4. Cleanliness: When handling a diseased plant (pruning off diseased areas, replacing a disease-ridden container plant) make sure to sterilize tools between cuts or before moving on to another plant in the garden. Anything that touches the diseased plant is now a carrier and can pass the disease to other plants.
- Be sure to pick up any debris left behind (fallen leaves, small cuts from pruning that have fallen on the ground) and tie up securely in a bag for the trash. Disease spores can be spread through the air from debris left behind.
- When replacing potted plants that had disease, remove all potting soil, scrub pots clean with a 1:9 ratio of bleach to water, fill pot with fresh potting soil and then replant with a more disease resistant variety.
5. Watering Times: It’s best to water in the morning hours so plants have plenty of time to dry off before the sun goes down. Watering at night increases the possibility of fungus and disease developing. (Brown patch can develop quickly when gardeners water lawns in the evening, and plants like basil can develop fungus quickly from overnight watering.)
6. Correct Placement: Knowing the growing requirements of your plants is one of the best things you can do to prevent disease and fungus in your gardens. If you purchase a xeriscape plant that needs well draining soil, don’t plant it in an area where water pools up and lingers. If you have plant that needs full sun, don’t shove it in densely shaded area of the landscape. Read our informational signs at Rainbow Gardens for the growth habits/requirements and follow these tips once you bring your plant home.
If disease strikes even after following these tips, and you need help controlling it, bring Rainbow Gardens a sample of the problem in a sealed plastic baggie and we’ll get you started on the right treatment plan.
~The Happy Gardener