Fungal disease – tips to help avoid it
After the wettest June on record in the UK, helping to prevent fungal disease seems to be among the most useful subjects to discuss at the moment.
These diseases may be divided into two groups:
- Those that start at root level
- Those that start at leaves
Even if you grow your plants outside in the rain, you may still be able to stop the soil from becoming saturated (cover with plastic sheeting) and therefore, help prevent Fusarium and Verticillium Wilt – two fungal diseases that begin at root level. They clog-up a plant’s plumbing system and the first sign is wilting.
For those who grow their tomatoes in a greenhouse or polytunnel, the main problem is damp air and therefore damp leaves. There are many fungal diseases waiting to attack your plants above ground including, grey mould, leaf spot and blight.
To help avoid these diseases …
- Cut down on watering
- Increase air circulation
- De-leaf plants up to the first truss
- Try not to place plants too closely together
- Remove dead leaves and any decaying matter from the area of your plants
- Spray with chemicals as a prevention – Systhane (replacement for Dithane) or Bordeaux Mixture
Keep Plants in Top Condition
Tomato plants have immune systems and become more vulnerable to disease when light levels and temperatures are low and the air is damp.
A healthy plant has a stronger immune system than one that is slightly under the weather (sorry about that!) so keeping plants in top condition is also a good way to prevent disease.
There are now bio-fungicides available that work by protecting plants with “friendly fungi” which stop the “unfriendly fungi” from getting established. Sounds good … when the weather is this bad, we need all the friends we can get!