Monday, July 23, 2018

It’s Just a Matter of Time!

Most days at Extension offices throughout the state, we get seasonal calls in just about every subject matter for that time throughout the year. Winter time brings calls about when and how to prune trees, spring brings calls concerning getting the garden started, to sticker weed in the lawn. Fall will soon bring in calls about food plots, to what’s the best winter grazing ryegrass, etc.

Which brings me to one of the most common calls for summer. If you read last week’s article about Sothern Stem Blight (SSB), we talked about a fungal issue affecting tomatoes this year, and how to address such garden issues. Not only to fungal issues affect the home garden, it’s just a matter of time and you’ll see things getting weird in your home landscape somewhere as well.

To address these fungal issues in the landscape, the home owner has an extra weapon in their bag of tricks to prevent problems before they flare up in a bad way. It’s been drilled into modern vegetable gardeners to start an effective spray program (even organically) to head-off disease pressure before it kills your plants. About 85 percent of spray programs for plant consist of a topical application, or better known as a spray-on. Topical fungicides work like a rain coat, they simply repel or kill fungal spores before they can do any harm. I recommend this type fungicide application almost daily this time of year.

Disease pressure is really high in the summer. This is due to heat, and moisture persisting both day and night. Fungal spores more than strive in these conditions both on, and inside plants and turf. Thus the reason for daily calls in summer about something sick, or dying in the landscape.

However, you home landscape lovers may not be aware of fungicides that act as penetrants, or also referred to as systemic. Systemic fungicides are applied as a drench, and work inside the plants killing or immobilizing the fungus. It’s best to apply before the symptoms advance, so early detection, and/or preventative applications are best.

This was the recommendation for an unfortunate homeowner this past week. Some already weaken foundation plantings from winter damage and drainage issues, fell prey to a fungal problem. The problem started, and progressed into the landscape like an underground wildfire out of control killing as it went from one plant to the next. Plants already weak, are more susceptible than strong, vigorous growing plants, but even then fungal issues can kill.

Good cultural practices like proper watering time, sanitation, NOT mulching too close or high on plants, planting in proper site selection, are solid measures to help prevent these problems. But knowing you have these penetrant fungicides in your bag of tricks is something you should absolutely consider, because it’s just a matter of time, or you’ll wish you had.

For more information about both type fungicides, application methods, lawn, garden, and landscape diseases, give me a call or come by your local MSU Extension Office.

Contact Info:
Phone: 601-773-3091