Let's pick up at the tail end of Part 1 of our series on natural pest control with a few more natural methods of combating the many ways in which our beloved plants are being attacked.
Fungus is a common problem facing plants of all types but especially fruiting trees. Some fungus is necessary and actually beneficial to certain plants in a symbiotic relationship. Other fungus however, such as the type that causes brown rot, can be devastating to them.
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- Symptoms - Infected fruit such as pears, plums, tomatoes and stone fruits especially, begin to display small brown spots that spread quickly and eventually cover the entire fruit with brownish gray spores. Mummified fruit is the end-result so try to catch it early.
- What You Can Do - When available, plant fungus resistant cultivars. Additionally, prune or remove the visibly damaged fruit from the tree. This has a two-fold effective. It allows for better air circulation while creating a drier environment which reduces the chance of re-infection.
After blossoming, spray the plant with a sulfur solution, then again before harvesting to prevent the Brown Rot from recurring in storage.
- Symptoms – This is another fungus-based disease that generally affects potatoes and tomato plants. Early blight is just what the name implies, a blight that appears on the leaves of the plant early in its development. Early blight first appears as small brown spots that can spread rapidly, eventually covering the entire leaf while quickly spreading to the other leaves.
- What You Can Do – In addition to rotating your crops and buying disease-free seeds, clean up any old plant debris that may be harboring the fungus. Remove all highly infected plants and destroy them. Additionally, the use of an organic, copper-based fungicide, can help in stopping the spread of this fungus-based disease.
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- Symptoms – Like its namesake, black spot fungus can be found on the leaves of rose bushes as small dark spots circled by a yellowish tissue. Black spot disease is moisture driven. This particular fungus can also infect the stems of the rose causing black, purplish blisters on young stalks.
- What You Can Do – Once its begun, black spot is difficult to control but there are measures you can institute to reduce the risk of infection. Avoid getting the leaves wet when watering.
It helps to keep plants well pruned to encourage airflow. Removal of the infected leaves and stems is paramount. You may also spray your plants early-on with a sulfur solution.
Another natural garden pest control method gaining in popularity is spraying your rose bushes with a solution consisting of 1-teaspoon baking soda to 1 quart of water. Many have found this to be an effective, natural method of helping control this malady.
In closing, it is my hope these articles have made you more aware of some of the natural perils that await our green little friends and has armed you with some information that will help control these pests and diseases without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals.