32July 22, 2015

We have had a few days of hot weather, along with a lot of morning dew and the occasional late in the day thundershower. This has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of fungus diseases on all types of plants.

If you look at your lawn and the lawn appears to have a pinkish tinge to the grass, you are looking at a fungus disease called red thread. As with almost all of the fungus diseases, it thrives on the wet blades of grass that can occur in the evening. There are some contributing factors that can cause this disease to happen. If you haven’t fertilized the lawn in over 8 weeks, the lack of nutrients in the soil can help red thread to get a foothold in your lawn. If you have an irrigation system to water your lawn and the system comes on at 3:00 AM, the wet blades of grass in that relatively cool part of the morning is an invitation to fungus diseases. Of course, if Mother Nature is providing the water there is very little you can do to stop that.

Your first step to a cure is to get some fertilizer onto the lawn. In many cases, your lawn will outgrow the problem with the proper amount of fertilizer in the soil. If the disease is well established, you will need to treat with a fungicide that is labeled for use on your lawn. You can buy a granular fungicide that you can put on with a spreader or you can use a hose attachment sprayer that you fill with a fungicide. Either way, you should follow the directions closely to get the control of the disease. We carry both products in our store.

Fungus diseases have also hit the vegetable gardens, the perennials, annual flower planters and even some shrubs. The key to control is to use the proper fungicide and then follow up with any additional applications if you don’t get the disease under control. Black spots on the leaves, rusty spots on the bottom of the leaves or a powdery coating on the leaves are all signs of a fungus disease on your plants. Fungus diseases, in some cases, can kill your plants quickly. At the first sign of a disease, apply a fungicide that is appropriate for your plant. You can also help to ward off plant diseases by not watering the foliage of your plants late in the day. If the leaves of your plants are wet in the nighttime, you have a far greater chance at having your plants developing a fungus disease.

When the weather is really hot, you will sometimes have the flowers on your tomatoes, squash and cucumbers develop a problem with proper pollination. In some cases, the bees may not visit – or it may just be too hot for the flowers to set the vegetables. There is a product that comes in a spray bottle that will help to aid in the proper pollination of your plants. You spray the flowers with the spray and you will help your plants to set the vegetables that you have been waiting for all season. We have this product in our store.

If you have been growing tomato plants in containers, you may have noticed that some of the tomatoes have developed a brown patch on the bottom of the tomato. This is called blossom end rot. It usually occurs when the soil gets too dry and then gets very wet. This combination of wet to dry causes a calcium deficiency in your tomato plants. Keeping your plants evenly moist when flowers are appearing and being pollinated is critical in preventing this disease. You can spray your plants with a liquid calcium spray to help to prevent this disease from happening. Unfortunately, once the problem shows up on a tomato, you cannot “cure” the problem on that tomato. Proper watering and keeping calcium levels up is your best bet at keeping your tomato plants healthy.

Well that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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