Home & Garden How To Defend Your Garden From Diseases That Will Ruin Your Soil

22:36  11 september  2017
22:36  11 september  2017 Source:   Rodale's Organic Life

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How To Defend Your Garden From Diseases That Will Ruin Your Soil . Learn to recognize the symptoms and understand the causes, then you can prevent them from ruining your garden .

How To Defend Your Garden From Diseases That Will Ruin Your Soil . Learn to recognize the symptoms and understand the causes, then you can prevent them from ruining your garden .

  How To Defend Your Garden From Diseases That Will Ruin Your Soil © Provided by Rodale Inc.

The top 10 inches of your garden's soil, where your plants' roots feed and grow, is teeming with bacteria, fungi, and countless other microscopic creatures. Most are beneficial or even essential to keeping your plants healthy. But some are pathogens that attack plants' roots, inhibiting their uptake of water and nutrients and disfiguring or killing your plants.

You see the results as, for instance, tomato vines that are wilted even after watering, tumor-like swelling on roses, and rotting spots on cucumbers.

Good news: The way to avoid diseases caused by soil pathogens is nothing more or less than smart organic soil care. We'll start by explaining exactly how they work and then give you nontoxic solutions.

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So once again, it is time to defend what’s yours from the invaders. Yes, pesticides will get rid of pests in your garden , but the toxicity that they will cause will remain in the soil for years to come.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

The culprits

Soilborne diseases are most often caused by fungi and nematodes, but bacteria and viruses can be responsible, too.

  • Fungi produce spores that spread in soil when it's tilled or cultivated; some propel themselves through water in the soil using special zoospores.
  • Nematodes are microscopic round-bodied worms. Most are beneficial, but the plant-parasitic types cause wilting and stunting.
  • Bacteria enter plants through openings in roots or tissue.
  • Viruses must have a host (like nematodes) in order to multiply. Aboveground symptoms are most often caused by these bad actors assaulting the root system, but in certain cases infected soil splashes onto foliage, where the disease then takes hold. Tomato early blight, a disease that causes spots on leaves, is a familiar example of this.

Related: How To Protect Your Summer Plants Against Powdery Mildew

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Keeping your garden soil clean of diseases will ensure that you grow healthy plants. Related: How To Time Your Planting To Avoid Garden Pests.

Ripe conditions

"Plant diseases develop when three conditions align: There must be a susceptible host plant, a pathogen must be present, and the environment must be conducive. This is called the disease triangle," explains Andreas Westphal, Ph.D., a plant pathologist at Purdue University. The key to overcoming plant diseases in your garden is to make these conditions as unfavorable for disease as possible. "Certain soilborne diseases, such as those caused by Pythium and Phytopthora, favor saturated soil conditions, while a few (like potato scab and charcoal root rot) thrive in dry soil," says Brenna Aegerter, Ph.D., of the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Joaquin County.

Compost for competition

Pathogens exist in soil—there's no getting rid of them. But you can keep the harmful microbes from multiplying and causing severe damage by encouraging a diverse population of good microbes, which suppress disease by outcompeting pathogens for nutrients and by feeding on bad guys themselves. Some beneficials even secrete antibiotics or chemicals that are harmful to pathogens. Add organic matter to your soil to increase the pathogen-fighting microbe populations up to 1,000-fold. Compost, the most valuable kind of organic matter, also acts as a source of food and shelter for the good microbes, which help prevent the germination of fungal spores. In addition, by promoting good drainage, compost eliminates the overly wet soil conditions many pathogens need. As it matures, compost becomes more suppressive, so use only your best black-gold compost. Apply organic matter that has not fully decomposed at least four months before planting.

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Flooding tunnels discourages burrowers, by making the soil too sticky for digging and causing it to foul their fur. They eat the flowers of melon, squash, cucumber, corn and rose plants, and spread the diseases of bacterial 1 How to Defend Your Garden From Common Pests { 06.03.15 at 5:12 pm }.

How To . Don't Let Soil -Borne Diseases Ruin Your Vegetable Crop. Protects plants from damping off disease . Defends tomatoes, squash, melons and more. Vegetable Gardens . Comments about Root Shield, 4 Oz.: Once in a great while your garden can use extra help. Bottom Line Yes, I would

Related: How To Build The Ultimate Compost Bin

Go with the resistance

Choose varieties bred to resist diseases common in your area. You can tell which are disease-resistant by looking carefully at catalog descriptions, seed packs, and plant tags for initials such as "VFN," which mean the plant is resistant to Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt, and root-knot nematodes.

All in the family

Pathogens build up steadily in soil if their favorite host plants are available year after year, notes Kenneth Johnson, Ph.D., a professor of plant pathology at Oregon State University. The solution, Johnson says, is to rotate each season what you plant in each section of your garden. Certain pathogens attack plants in the same family, so rotate to a different crop outside of that family. The longer your rotation cycle, the more protection you'll get. It takes five years or longer without peas or a susceptible host for the Fusarium fungus that causes wilt to die off, for example, and two years without pumpkins for the black rot pathogen to die.

Related: 10 Best Plants for Fall (Provided by: Southern Living)

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Knowing how soil affects plant growth is important to growing a successful garden . Learning how to check soil temperature will help the home gardener know when to start sowing seeds. Since soil can harbor pests, diseases , and weed seeds, it’s always a good idea to sterilize garden soil before

There are many types of diseases that affect garden plants, leaving many gardeners scratching their heads. By using the following information, you can learn how to go about identifying plant What is cercospora? The disease is fungal and survives on any affected fruit in soil from the previous season.

'October Glory': <p>What’s the most dependable tree in the South for spectacular red fall foliage? ‘October Glory’ red maple (Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’). It grows 50 to 60 feet tall, and you can get it at most garden centers. September is a great time to plant.</p> 10 Best Plants for Fall A Greener Garden: <p>Keeping plants adequately hydrated throughout the dog days of summer is virtually a full time job. That's where this trick comes in handy. Designed to mimic a drip irrigation system, it delivers water straight to plant roots using nothing more than a <a href=plastic bottle and an orphan sock. Puncture holes around the sides, then stuff a sock in it—the fabric will absorb and retain the water, slowly distributing it to plants. Unscrew the cap and fill the bottle when you're ready to water.


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A healthy diet

Stressed plants with nutrient deficiencies or excesses don't withstand attacks as well as healthy, well-nourished plants. Get a soil test three to six months before planting season and follow the recommendations carefully. You may need to alter the soil's pH along with its nutrient levels. The pH directly affects the survival of both the pathogen and the plant. For instance, clubroot, a fungal disease that preys on cabbage, broccoli, and their kin, is more severe in acidic soil (a pH of 5.7 or less). Adding calcium to your soil controls soilborne diseases caused by Pythium, such as damping off. Crops for which this has proved effective include wheat, peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and snapdragons. Recently, researchers in Ontario found that incorporating bone meal, soy meal, and poultry manure into the top 6 inches of soil significantly reduced the incidence of Verticillium wilt and common scab of potato.

Mulch as a shield

A layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, prevents diseased soil from splashing onto foliage and keeps fruit off the bare ground, where pathogens might invade it. It also stops weeds, which stress plants by competing for nutrients and water. Weeds may also host plant diseases.

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How can you tell if your garden has clay heavy soil ? With a little bit of work and a whole lot of compost, your garden soil can be the source of jealousy for your fellow gardeners as well. Staghorn Fern Plant Problems: How To Treat A Diseased Staghorn Fern.

Allow the Soil to Warm Before Planting. Some fungal diseases get their hooks into our gardens because we plant when the soil is still too cool. It's helpful to know the different vegetable families, and how to rotate them in your garden .

Related: Rid Your Yard Of Crabgrass Without Using Harmful Weed Killer

The sun cure

So what can you do when despite all the preventive techniques, diseases just don't go away- Try solarization, suggests Aegerter. This technique uses the sun's energy to heat moist soil to a degree where plant pathogens cannot survive. Cover the affected area with a sheet of clear polyethylene during the warmest, sunniest part of the year, Aegerter says, for periods of four to six weeks. "The main limitation of solarization is that the land must be out of production for most of the summer," she points out. After this is done, incorporate organic matter to replace beneficial organisms that are killed in the process.

Biocontrol agents

You can buy beneficial agents (sometimes found in high-quality compost) that you apply to your soil to fight specific pathogens. The fungus Trichoderma harzianum (sold as RootShield) kills the pathogen Rhizoctonia (one of the many fungi that cause damping-off). Trichoderma locates Rhizoctonia by a chemical the pathogen releases, then attacks the damaging fungi and destroys it.

Mycorrhizal fungi

Among the most beneficial root-inhabiting organisms, antibiotic-producing mycorrhizal fungi cover plant roots to protect against pathogens, forming a "fungal mat," which also increases nutrient-uptake ability.

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