Fungal Disease in the Garden


This is the time of the year when fungal disease becomes evident in the landscape.  Many customers come into the Garden Center with problem leaves that frequently are caused by fungus issues.

Diseases can be difficult to identify for homeowners as the can mistake environmental problems or maintenance problems for a disease.  Some examples of this could be lichen or Spanish Moss that are not parasitic and are not actually causing harm to the plants.

Likewise, quite often plants are misdiagnosed in saltwater zones, mistaking salt damage for disease.

As with any other issue in the garden, identifying the environmental causes should be the first line of defense.  Is this problem caused by salt spray or water damage?  Is it caused by over fertilizing?  Is it caused by overwatering?

In addition, when a plant does have some minor leaf spots, it frequently is not serious enough to be causing major issues- rather more cosmetic.

Fungus spots on leaves or mildew is frequently caused by over watering (3/4-1” of water per week is all that is needed!), over crowding of plant material which results in poor air circulation or simply planting a plant in the wrong place- such as too much shade for a sun loving plant.

Once environmental improvement is made by decreasing water, creating better air flow, often fungus problems right themselves. If the changes are made and there is no improvement, then fungicides may be needed.  Fungicides are primarily preventative so plants that you know historically develop problems should be sprayed early in the spring or early summer to try and prevent the development.

There definitely are plant diseases that can cause major problems and require immediate attention.  For example, any type of fungus/mushroom growing on the trunk of a palm or tree is a very serious issue and is more often caused by Ganoderma- a fungal disease that will spell the death of your tree.

If you have developed any of these problems in your garden and require assistance, please drop by the Garden Center or give us a call.  We would be happy to help!