Bacteria, Fungi, or Virus?! Aspirin or Bleach?!
Bacterial diseases like leaf spot, canker, soft spot, are spread by insects, splashing water, other diseased plants, or tools. They enter plants through tiny openings either through damage, or cuts, but also through natural openings in the plant itself. Once your plant is infected, it us usually too late. Remove the plant or at least infected parts and do not compost them. You can treat them with copper based sprays, but, it is not a cure. Prevention is best – treat your plants before damage is present, remove debris, keep your tools clean.
Fungi. Since there are more fungi than bacteria, these are more likely to infect your plants. Fungi are both soil and air borne, and spread by water, animals and insects, and people. Like bacteria, they enter plants through tiny openings either through damage, or cuts, but also through natural openings in the plant itself. Below ground there are rotted, swollen, and dead roots. Above ground, seedlings fall over, there are leaf spots, rusts and wilts. I don’t think there is a gardener alive who hasn’t had plants with mildew. Sigh. Buy resistant varieties, mulch enough to prevent water splash, water under the foliage early in the day, space your plantings so they don’t touch each other, to allow air circulation when they are full grown. As always, prevention works best. Use fungicides – copper, sulfur, baking soda, or remove infected plant parts or the whole plant if it is suffering fatally.
Viruses can persist many years. Not good. Yellowing, mosaic yellow, light green or white patches, misshapen, rolled leaves, stunted growth, are all symptoms. Infected seed, humans, and insects are common vectors. With viruses, it’s over. There are no treatments, remove your plant. That was brutal, no? And they are difficult to prevent. Ok. Get resistant varieties, use floating row covers (physical barrier), to keep insect virus carriers away from your plants.
Adapted from Bacteria, Fungus, and Viruses, an Overview. See Joe Gardener’s complete article at: http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/bacteria-fungus-and-viruses-an-overview/
Here are a couple rad remedies I’m now using!
Water your plants with an aspirin?! Salicylic acid, in aspirin, triggers a defense response in tomatoes and other plants as well!
Martha McBurney, the master gardener in charge of the demonstration vegetable garden at the University of Rhode Island says that when plants are under stress they “naturally produce salicylic acid, but not fast enough and in sufficient quantities to really help them out in time. So the bugs get them, and diseases get them, and they show even more stress. But if you give them aspirin, it helps boost their immune system, a bit like feeding people Echinacea so they don’t get a cold.”
Adapted from eHow: The main benefit of aspirin in planting involves aspirin’s ability to fend off potential plant diseases.
- Mix one regular strength aspirin with one gallon of water. Combine the ingredients well, so the aspirin is distributed evenly throughout the liquid.
- Add a dash of mild liquid soap to the mixture. This is used so the aspirin water will stick to your plants.
- Spray or drench the tomatoes, getting up under the leaves as well, when you first set them in the ground! Aspirin sprayed directly on seeds improves germination, on plants it stimulates the growing process. There is no need to soak nearby ground.
- Treat your plants every 2 to 3 weeks. You are going to notice that the plants stay healthier and attract fewer insects! YES!
Brave Soul Leroy Cheuvront at Heavy Petal blog says: ‘I have had the blight and have stopped it from destroying my tomato plants. All you have to do is mix 2 ounces [1/4 cup] of BLEACH to a gallon of water and drown the plant from top to bottom, it will not kill the plant. I do it every seven days and the blight has not returned. — June 18, 2010.’ It sounds scary, but I bet it works! I am now testing this principle on a new tomato plant with good results so far. I don’t know if it is needed, but I added a few drops of liquid soap as a surfactant. Please let me know how it works for you if you have done it or try it!
Next week, hold onto yourself, Maggots in Your Compost?! Two Surprising Answers!