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6 Plant Diseases and its Treatment For Healthy Plant Growth

In order to cultivate high-quality crops, it is important to keep plants free from diseases. Here are some common plant diseases and how to fix them.

Vivek Singh
Plant disease and how to fix them (Photo Credit: Freepik)
Plant disease and how to fix them (Photo Credit: Freepik)

You put in diligent effort to cultivate high-quality crops for your community, but the presence of diseased plants can jeopardize your livelihood and food reserves. By gaining knowledge about different plant diseases, you can recognize indications of infection, address symptoms, and prevent their spread. Here's a guide on recognizing and managing these conditions to promote healthy plant growth.

How To Identify a Plant Disease?

The process of identifying plant diseases involves being familiar with the specific symptoms to watch out for. Infections can manifest as alterations in a plant's growth, functionality, colour, and overall appearance. Detecting these warning signs enables you to intervene promptly and effectively in treating the affected plants.

In the event that you observe symptoms of a disease, you also have the option to collect samples from the affected areas and send them to a nearby university or treatment centre for laboratory testing and diagnosis.

Common Plant Diseases

Once you've acquired the knowledge needed to identify various plant diseases, you can take proactive measures. Here is a list of some common plant diseases to be vigilant for.

1. Blossom-End Rot

Blossom-end rot is a condition in plants and crops caused by a lack of calcium, which leads to the deterioration of the blossom or the lower end of fruits in crops such as tomatoes, squash, and eggplants.

Several factors contribute to the development of this problem, including:

  • Over- or under-watering the soil

  • An imbalance in soil pH levels

  • Elevated sodium levels

  • Damage to plant roots

  • Excessive use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers

To address affected areas and prevent the spread of blossom-end rot to other growing crops, consider the following steps:

  • Trim away the damaged portions of the fruits

  • Test the calcium content in your soil

  • Regularly monitor the pH levels of your soil

  • Provide support to developing plants

  • Choose vegetable varieties that are tolerant to low calcium levels

  • Apply mulch to retain moisture, especially during dry seasons

  • Avoid excessive fertilization and opt for fertilizers rich in calcium

  • Maintain consistent and appropriate watering practices, avoiding both over- and under-watering

2. Anthracnose

Anthracnose is a fungal infection that impacts plants, trees, as well as various fruits and vegetables. It can result in visible symptoms such as sunken, and dark lesions on leaves, flowers, fruits, and stems. This rapidly spreading fungus can also harm developing shoots and leaves.

Fungal growth on plants, vegetables, fruits, and trees is a primary contributor to anthracnose. This plant ailment thrives in warm and humid environments and can propagate through irrigation. It has the potential to affect entire vegetables and can even lead to the demise of tree branches.

Common indicators of anthracnose encompass:

  • Tiny yellow or brown spots appearing on leaves

  • Dark blemishes and clusters of pink spores on fruits

Here are some recommendations for managing anthracnose in plants:

  • Remove and appropriately dispose of the afflicted plants

  • Prune away dead wood from trees and discard infected leaves

  • Apply a fungicide containing copper to the plants

3. Downy Mildew

Downy mildew, a fungal ailment, results in leaf wilting and yellowing, potentially leading to leaf death while sparing plant stems and petioles. It can affect various crops such as basil, watermelon, cucumbers, sunflowers, and grapes. This fungus thrives in warm and humid climates, causing significant crop yield reduction.

Signs of downy mildew:

  • Moulding and yellowing of leaves

  • Gray spores on the undersides of leaves

  • A yellow mosaic pattern on the upper leaf surface

  • Infected areas turning brown

Consider the following strategies to deal with downy mildew:

  • Remove and appropriately dispose of infected plants

  • Trim and discard affected areas

  • Prune lower leaves to enhance air circulation

  • Sanitize pruning shears with bleach or alcohol to prevent further spread

  • Keep plants dry

  • Elevate leaves from the ground

  • Implement drip-line irrigation for watering plants

  • Apply mulch to maintain soil moisture

4. Mosaic Viruses

Mosaic viruses are commonly found in crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash, causing yellow, white, and dark green spots and streaks on leaves. Common signs of mosaic viruses include:

  • Blister-like yellow and white mottled leaves

  • Stunted plant growth and leaf deformities

Preventing mosaic viruses is crucial since they can be challenging to cure. You can minimize plant damage caused by mosaic viruses by implementing these treatments:

  • Remove and dispose of affected plant areas through burning or disposal

  • Sanitize gardening tools with mild bleach to minimize spreading

  • Monitor nearby plants for signs of infection

5. Early Blight

Early blight, a fungal disease, impacts tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Rapidly spreading fungal pathogens are responsible for early blight. Wet, humid, and rainy conditions, such as morning dew, create an ideal environment for its proliferation. Since distinguishing early blight from septoria and bacterial leaf spot disease can be challenging, it is crucial to recognize its symptoms.

Signs of early blight may include:

  • Quarter-inch to half-inch brown spots

  • Oval spots on stems and damaged fruit near the stem

  • Dark brown rings on leaves with yellow leaf tissue surrounding the brown spots

Managing early blight can be difficult, and cultural methods are often the most effective solution:

  • Remove and promptly dispose of affected plant areas

  • Opt for more tolerant plant varieties

  • Utilize fertile soil

  • Employ below-ground irrigation and avoid overhead systems

  • Apply mulch to the soil to reduce soil splash

6. White Mold

White mould is a fungal affliction that affects various plant species, including lettuce, beans, and peas. The white mould fungus tends to develop during spring and summer and can spread to other plants via wind in cooler conditions. Signs of white mould may include:

  • Stems appear soaked with a white substance

  • Wilting stems displaying tan or dark lesions

To address white mould:

  • Remove affected plants

  • Utilize mulch or plastic to cover infected soil and prevent further spread

  • Replace the contaminated soil with fresh, uncontaminated soil

Control Plant Disease with Suitable Equipment

Controlling plant diseases with suitable equipment is essential for maintaining healthy crops. Begin by selecting the right tools for the job, such as pruners, shears, or sprayers, depending on the specific disease and plant type. Ensure that all equipment is clean and properly sanitized to prevent cross-contamination. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of disease, and when necessary, use the equipment to remove infected plant parts or apply treatments like fungicides or pesticides.

Properly storing and maintaining your equipment will also prolong its lifespan and effectiveness in disease management. By utilizing the right tools and practising good maintenance, you can significantly reduce the impact of plant diseases on your garden or farm.

 

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