Anthracnose can quickly spread throughout your landscape. Use the following prevention and control strategies to protect plants.
What is Anthracnose
Anthracnose is one of the most common fungal diseases that can attack a large number of shrubs, trees, vegetables and fruit plants. Depending on the host, it can vary in appearance, however, it generally begins with small yellow or browns spots on leaves that become darker and larger over time. Eventually, the leaves can become completely discolored and wilt off. The fungus can also enter into the stems of the plant causing them to brown and die back. The good news is aside from leaf drop and the damage that it causes fruits and vegetables, it is generally not a disease that destroys the plant. Usually, with the right control measures plants will become healthy again.
How to Identify Anthracnose
You’ll most likely begin to notice Anthracnose when you observe tiny yellow or brown spots on the leaves of your shrubs, trees, vegetables, or fruit plants. These spots can become more significant and widespread as the disease increases it presence on the host plant. Eventually, infected leaves will wilt, become brown or black, and fall off. Browning can occur on some of the younger branches and those to can die back. In fruits and vegetables you’ll notice sunken dark spots that become larger over time. Infected fruit and vegetables should be disposed. Take a look below at some of the ways Anthracnose can appear among a variety of hosts.
1. Avoid overhead watering. When water sits on the surface of leaves it can cause fungus to spread. Instead use drip irrigation to water the roots directly.
2. Create airflow. Make sure plants have plenty of room to breathe. Give plants plenty of space so they are not growing into each other. Also, selective pruning of crossing branches, older branches, and just overall thinning of the plant can help increase air flow. Pruning old and weak branches will also help to preserve energy and allow the plant to fight off disease.
3. Plant in well drained soil. Soil should remain moist but not completely saturated. Well drained soil helps prevent the spread of fungus. Compost is a great way to enrich the soil and improve drainage.
4. Don’t let fruit touch the soil. A lot of fungus problems on fruits occur when the fruit touches the soil. Do your best to stake fruit or prune away low hanging fruit near the soil.
5. Avoid plants that are susceptible to Anthracnose. Do your research before you plant. Some plants are a lot more susceptible to diseases such as anthracnose than others. Seek out more disease resistant plants whenever possible.
If you notice Anthracnose on your plants the best thing you can do is implement the prune, collect, and spray strategy. The first step is to prune away any effected leaves, branches, and fruits or vegetables. The second step is to collect and remove any effected plant debris that you pruned off or that has fallen on the soil around the plant. The final step is to spray the effected plants and nearby plants with a copper based fungicide such as Captain Jacks. Follow up with a second round of copper based fungicide 7-10 days later.
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