The untimely and misfortunate death of plants is a frequent and recurring challenge in landscapes. One of the major reasons is attributed to the occurrence of fungus and disease attacks. These invaders significantly undermine the health and vigor of plants gradually and often fatally. Therefore, learning about various methods to eradicate fungi and diseases from your landscape is essential.
In this blog, MPR Landscapes will provide comprehensive guidance and insights into the subject. We will also list the top 5 ways to handle fungi and disease in the landscape, so stay tuned with us till the end!
❇️ THE INTRICACIES OF DISEASES AND FUNGI
⭕ The Disease Triangle!
To explain it simply, a disease triangle contains three essential components that aid in infestation and infections. These significant factors are a favorable environment, a vulnerable host, and a potent pathogen!
Various environmental factors facilitate the growth of pathogens in the landscape, causing them to attack susceptible hosts, such as plants and trees. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that all three triangle components should be there for the disease to occur. The environment and vulnerability of hosts do, in fact, significantly influence disease development.
The main culprit behind disasters caused by disease is pathogens! Pathogens are organisms or germs that infect plants and disrupt their internal defense mechanisms.
Pathogens attack the transport system of nutrients known as the vascular system. In these cases, the xylem and phloem are destroyed resulting in stunted growth and nutritional deficiencies in plants. Wilting occurs at this rate and plants die.
Common pathogens attacking landscapes and agricultural fields are fungi, viruses, nematodes and bacteria. Fungus, specifically, is a major contributor to diseases. It can affect a variety of plants and large field areas, disrupting the growth rates of plants, trees, grass, shrubs, and flowers.
❇️ How Does Fungus Spread?
Since fungus results in plant infections and diseases quite often, it is essential to learn more about its intricacies, spreading patterns and main types. Usually, fungal diseases are spread widely through spores. These fungal spores are mostly dispersed via wind, insects, water, soil or contaminated tools.
Widespread airborne transmissions due to wind and insects, the right temperature, and prolonged moisture cause infections of plants.
❇️ All About Symptoms
The good news is that most fungi and diseases are easily detectable due to their visible texture and vivid colors. For instance, some infections leave spots on leaves, others cause rusting on plant surfaces. One prominent example is powdery mildew that leaves a white foam appearance on leaf blades. Additional signs of a disease attack include plant wilting, fruit rotting, and blights on leaves.
It is important to note that not all symptoms of wilting or dying plants signify a widespread disease or fungus onslaught. Many environmental stresses or injuries can also cause untimely deaths in plants on a substantial scale.
For example, nutritional deficiencies caused by the inadequate absorption of nutrients from the soil are caused by excess accumulated water or salinity in the area. Similarly, a lack of water can result in droughts for significant periods. These factors can cause plant deaths and do not necessarily involve a pathogen.
❇️ ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS FACILITATING DISEASE AND FUNGUS GROWTH
Many environmental factors play significant roles in aiding the growth of fungi and diseases. Hence, whether you are new to landscaping or even a seasoned pro with a high level of expertise, it is unfortunately quite easy to get caught up in the technicalities of diseases.
Nearly 20-40% of crop yield worldwide is estimated to be lost to diseases and pest attacks. So you have to be aware of all the responsible factors for diseases especially if you have commercial harvest because the losses can be quite heavy.
Environmental factors responsible for influencing disease development in a landscape are:
⭕ High Moisture Content
High moisture levels in a landscape are ideal for fungal progression. This is because usually, moist atmospheres present optimal conditions for fungi to thrive and attack a wide area.
High moisture content can contribute to a lot of different issues which can negatively impact your crop yield. These issues include increased pathogen growth, low plant resistance, and high germination rates.
If plant roots are always drenched in water, they become weak over time. Thus, the plant becomes stressed and more prone to infections. The fungi living in spoil also thrive in these conditions as high humidity aids the germination of fungal spores.
The excess moisture content in the landscape can potentially result from faulty irrigation, poor drainage, high precipitation rates and high humidity. These various factors contribute to damp environments that directly encourage the growth of fungi.
⭕ Injuries Caused By Stressors
Often wild animals or natural elements, such as high winds, heavy rain or storms can considerably damage plants in the landscape. Other times plants sustain injuries due to wrong pruning, faulty trimming, vandalism, and machinery damage. These stressors injure plants which allows germs to attack the host directly and viciously. Injuries also weaken the hosts and make them more susceptible to infectious diseases.
⭕ Landscape Patterns of Host Plants
It is important to analyze the geographical elements of the landscape to determine the impact of the disease. These elements can include the overall spread pattern of vegetation and the area available. Host plants are often overcrowded in small lawn areas.
The proximity factor and poor air circulation can be conducive to fungal growth. Therefore, it is always important to hire proficient landscapers like MPR Landscapes to conduct a thorough site analysis before making any major decision.
⭕ The Wind Factor
High winds increase the widespread dispersal of fungal spores and other pathogens. The spores are spread over long distances, which allows them to attack a variety of plants and claim new areas. Wind also spreads bacteria, germs and viruses along with dust particles similarly.
⭕ The Use of Herbicides and Pesticides
Herbicides and pesticides are almost a necessity in landscaping. However, when used incorrectly they are harmful. The formulations of these chemicals turn toxic, killing your plants and completely disrupting the lawn ecosystem’s balance.
Wrong applications can poison nearby water sources, weaken beneficial organisms in the soil, deteriorate plant roots, and imbalance the food chain. Thus, degrading the health of the ecosystem and reducing overall biodiversity.
This extensive disruption weakens your plants and makes them prone to diseases. Their natural defense systems are undermined. Moreover, constant use of chemicals can make germs and fungi develop resistance over time.
Interestingly, some chemicals only target certain species of disease pathogens. This allows for other resilient varieties to grow without any competition. So in a way, inadvertently, chemicals can aid the growth of diseases.
❇️ TOP 05 WAYS TO ERADICATE FUNGUS AND DISEASE
About 85% of plant diseases are initiated by fungi. With the help of effective measures and proper cultural practices, you can prevent the growth of fungi and other diseases in your landscape.
⭕ Plan Your Landscape Thoroughly!
Planning and thorough execution are essential for landscape health and disease prevention. You should carefully plan your garden or lawn. Start by analyzing the overall size of the landscape and how many varieties you want to plant.
The tip is not to overcrowd plants and to incorporate proper spacing in between. Doing so will prevent extra humidity in hot weather and poor air circulation. The better the airflow is, the faster your plants will dry.
Also, make sure to rotate crops yearly. Planting different varieties and changing the positions of related plants efficiently disrupt pest cycles and starve out pathogens. Crop rotation also eradicates soil-borne organisms. Make sure to clean your space and remove any dead plants annually.
While planning your space, keep in mind to plant vegetation under sunlight, in the right soil type and with ample space so they thrive for longer periods.
⭕ Choose Plants with Ample Resistance!
Experts suggest buying plant varieties that are better adapted to the local climate. Such varieties have more resistance to indigenous diseases.
Moreover, a lot of plants are genetically engineered to develop resistance to certain pathogens. You can choose various commercial crops or vegetable seeds immune to one or more diseases.
One prominent example is tomato varieties with different initials of ‘VFN’ and ‘VFNA’. These symbols indicate resistance to Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt and Southern Root-Knot Nematode.
⭕ Fungicides to Save the Day!
Fungicides are a type of pesticides that target fungi and their spores. Make sure to choose a trusted fungicide with proven testimonials.
These chemicals inhibit the growth of spores and prevent existing fungal diseases from further destruction.
Important tip: select a fungicide with broad-spectrum protection against many pathogens.
Usually, treatment is applied on dry vegetation for effective product absorption. Additional applications may be required depending on the climate conditions and humidity levels.
After application infected leaves are most likely to fall off so dispose of them properly. Ensure that you properly read the peculiar instructions on labels and follow them on time for the best results!
⭕ Control Moisture Content
Excess moisture content is perhaps one of the most important reasons for fungal growth in your landscape. Therefore, this factor demands your utmost priority and attention.
Natural elements like rain cannot be controlled. However, you can exercise this control over irrigation and drainage. Ensure your irrigation system and drainage are working efficiently, ensuring that many fungal spores cannot germinate because of a lack of favorable conditions.
Do not overwater your lawn. Watering schedules may vary in summers and winters. In winter you don’t have to water your space more than once a week. However, even these conditions can vary due to geography and weather patterns.
If your area has a high precipitation rate then make sure your drainage pipes are unblocked and working properly. Trust us – you do not want puddled water in your area that not only encourages fungal growth but also destroys your hard landscaping features!
We also advise you to water your lawns early in the day so that foliage has ample time to dry. Sun, wind and daytime high temperatures aid this drying process.
On the other hand, watering in the evening or at night leaves moisture beads on leaf blades. Apart from changing your water schedules, alter watering techniques too. Apply water mostly on plant roots and not on the leaves.
⭕ Manifest ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure!’
It is high time we take significant care of our landscapes to avoid potentially disastrous problems. For instance, ensure not to work on your lawn when the soil is wet. The reason is that fungal spores can also spread through your clothing or wet shoes from an infected plant to a non-infected one.
Additionally, you can trim and prune plants often to ensure there’s sufficient air circulation and sunlight penetration. Healthy soil and vigorous plants are better equipped to fight diseases.
❇️ MPR LANDSCAPES TO SAVE THE DAY!
Are you perhaps also suffering from disease and fungal infestations? Worry not! Now you can contact experts like MPR Landscapes to take care of these problems efficiently.
Our trained staff members work systematically. We start by thoroughly analyzing your lawn areas, considering all external factors like climate, and soil types and then devising appropriate treatments to treat diseases. We make sure to rid your place fully of any fungal spores or other harmful elements so that you can enjoy a healthy and robust lawn!
To conclude it all, fungi and diseases can prove to be quite devastating for your landscape. They harm your crop yield and cause plants to die. So you must know the intricacies of disease and fungus and the important environmental factors that facilitate their growth.
To eradicate these problems from the core, plan your landscape sensibly, use fungicides if you see infections, limit moisture content and take care of your space. Diseases stealthily undermine the overall health of your plants so prioritize getting rid of them by contacting proficient landscapers like MPR Landscapes. We are one phone call away to solve all your problems!