Use Fungicides Sparingly

An overdose of fungicides can be fatal to plants, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. When using either an aerosol or a sprayer, hold it at arms length and ensure the spraying nozzle is directed towards the plant before you begin. Spray from the bottom of the stem upwards, making sure that you coat the undersides of the leaves where most diseases occur.

Sensitive plants Some plants can be sensitive to certain chemicals used in fungicides. For example, certain varieties of gooseberry are sulphur-shy. The leaves may drop, or develop various spots and scorches. Always check the product label for warnings about plants that are known to be susceptible. Do not spray in bright sunlight, in very hot weather or when plants are dry at the roots. If in doubt test a small area of the plant first. Where you have a group of plants to treat try the chemical on one first.

Take quick action Fungi reproduce themselves by means of airborne spores, minute dust-like bodies composed of a single cell. Most fungicides do not actually kill fungi but prevent the spores from spreading. At the first signs of a fungal disease such as rust or mildew, prompt spraying of the whole plant and any others of the same type standing nearby should provide adequate protection from infection.

Prevention before cure Apply preventive spray early in the season to plants, such as roses, that are susceptible to attack. A protective coating of fungicide on the leaves will ensure that any fungus spores that land do not infect the plants.

Your plants will be far less susceptible to fungal diseases if you follow these tips.

  • Choose plant varieties that have some in-built resistance
  • Give plants the amount of light, space and food that they require
  • Always rotate your crops in the vegetable garden
  • Be scrupulous about garden hygiene, picking up and burning diseased leaves, weeds or fruits.

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