Even though we have had a series of nice days, we still appear to be getting rainy days on a regular basis. The rain is a good thing because you will be spending less time watering your lawn and gardens. However, too many rainy days can cause problems for your plants.
Let me tell you about one of those problems that too much rain can create.
One of the problems created by too much rain is the introduction of fungus diseases to your plants. Whenever you have wet leaves during the nighttime hours, fungus disease can begin to grow in your garden. Your vegetable plants can be easily infected after prolonged periods of wet leaves.
Over the years, I have advised people to not water their vegetable plants in the evening. When you water in the evening, the chances of the leaves drying out before darkness sets in are slim-to-none. When you get rain in the evening hours, those wet leaves can be contaminated by wind-borne spores of various fungus diseases.
Fungus diseases spores are the “eggs” of the diseases. Along with the spores being blown around by the wind, spores can also exist in the soil from any fungus diseases that may have occurred last year.
If you have a prolonged number of days of rain, it may be advisable to spray your plants with a fungicide that will kill the spores. There are some good organic sprays that you can apply. Some of these organic sprays use bacterium that “eat” the spores. Other sprays will change the pH around the spores, and this will kill the spores. Check with your local garden center to find these types of fungicide.
You may find that after a prolonged rain that the fungus diseases may have gotten a foothold. One of the common fungus diseases is powdery mildew. It appears as a powdery residue on the leaves of the plant.
Many members of the squash family are prone to powdery mildew. Many different varieties of annual and perennial flowers are prone to powdery mildew.
If left untreated, powdery mildew will eventually kill the leaves of the plant. Once powdery mildew starts, most of the time, you will need to use what is called a curative fungicide. There are certain curative fungicides that will work best on vegetables, so always check the label for the appropriate vegetables that the fungicide can be used on.
Leaf spots are another type of fungus disease that attacks your plants. They can appear as brown or black individual spots that can grow and merge into larger patches. The sooner you treat for leaf spots, the more likely you are to get it under control.
If you grow tomato plants, there are many more diseases that can attack your plants. There are several types of blights that can infect your plants. Powdery mildew can also be a problem.
With the rainy season that we have been having so far, you may want to start a program of spraying your tomato plants with one of the organic fungicides. Starting a series of sprayings now can help prevent the introduction of many fungus diseases on your vegetable plants.
Rainy weather will help your plants grow, but keep in mind that you should be fertilizing your plants, too. The ingredients in fertilizers can help your plants fight off fungus diseases.
After a rainy period, you should go out and take a look at your plants to see if there are any signs of fungus diseases rearing their ugly heads. By catching fungus disease early on, you have the best chance of stopping it.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.
Tim Lamprey has worked in the lawn and garden industry for 45 years.