Flower gardening can be fun and rewarding, but if disease takes hold it could ruin your carefully crafted garden. Flower enemies like fungi, viruses and bacteria can devastate your plants. No plants are really immune, so it will be up to you to protect them.
Fungi can be difficult to protect against. It can exist in bare soil for quite some time, waiting for an opportunity to strike. So even if it’s been a while since flowers have been in the ground, don’t let down your guard. Even bare soil can harbor danger.
One reason that fungi are so difficult to get rid of is the way they reproduce. Did you know that a single plant infected with fungus can release as many as 100 million spores? Plants are vulnerable to fungi both through their roots and their leaves. The key to protecting your flower garden against fungi is to completely eradicate any fungal infection.
Bare soil is not a good environment for bacteria, so they don’t last nearly as long. They require moisture and warmth to multiply. That’s why warm and humid climates have a much more difficult time with bacterial infections. Overhead watering makes matters worse by splashing water directly onto your plants. Your flowers are most vulnerable to bacteria through damaged areas like cut stems or leaves. Be gentle with your garden.
Viruses actually have to be inside the cells of your plants to reproduce–they can’t multiply in soil. They move from plant to plant with the help of seeds, pollen or insects. Once they arrive, entry is gained through cuts or damage like bacteria
Diagnosis and Treatment
Correct diagnosis is essential to caring for diseased plants in your garden. You may be able to identify your problems using online resources or books. It’s important to have some type of resource handy because the diagnosis really does determine your course of action. You can’t even start treating your flower garden until you know what’s wrong.
Local garden centers and county extension services are other great places to get advice. Many extension services have fully developed websites. If you’re getting help in person, take a photo of your problem plants. A picture will communicate much more effectively than a description.
Opt for organic treatments first if at all possible. Many chemicals have the potential for greater damage than the disease. Chemicals also represent a significant danger to the surrounding environment. Organic treatments can be very effective and are a superior solution to your problem.
Certain flower varieties tend to be at greater risk for problems. For example, roses seem to come down with a whole host of disease. Other plant varieties come with their own strengths and weaknesses. As you plan your garden, find out ahead of time the possible problems you may face. Then you’ll be better prepared to diagnose and treat the diseases quickly and return your garden to maximum health and beauty.