Fungus Loves Water (no, this isn’t a romance story)

Lilac bushes are frequent targets for powdery mildew, a common type of garden fungus.

Lilac bushes are frequent targets for powdery mildew, a common type of garden fungus.

During the summer months, we see a significant bump in the number of gardeners who call with concerns that their plants have fungus.  Our problem solving starts with three questions:

  1. What time of day do you water your plants?
  2. How frequently do you water?
  3. Has it been unusually rainy or humid in your area?

Fungi need water to grow. The longer your plants stay wet, the more inviting they become to fungus.  It’s common for gardeners to overcompensate for summer heat by over watering their plants. Fungus loves this.

Top 5 watering tips to help keep fungus out of your summer garden:

  1. Check your soil before you water. If it’s almost dry, it’s time to water. Do not water if your soil feels moist.
  2. Make sure your container plants have proper drainage and empty saucers of any standing water. (Standing water also provides breeding sites for mosquitoes, so get rid of it.)
  3. Water in the morning, before it gets sunny and hot, typically before 9:00 am.
  4. Mulch. This helps reduce evaporation of moisture from soil. Additionally, mulch barriers keep soil from splashing onto plant foliage and that helps limit the spread of soil-borne diseases.
  5. Treat plants with Physan 20 or Serenade at the first sign of fungus. Act quickly because fungal infestations spread fast. Keep an eye out for reoccurrences.
10/22/2013    Plant Diseases: Identification & Solutions, Uncategorized, Watering