Let’s Talk About Fungus
A healthy plant is a happy plant. We know that means bright green shrubs, majestic oaks, beachy palm trees, and vibrant flowering plants in Florida. When kept happy and healthy, a myriad of plants—both native and exotic—can thrive in the Florida climate, bringing beautiful landscapes to life.
Unfortunately, there are a number of threats lurking right around the corner, ready to pounce on compromised plants and take them from the star of the landscape to unsightly mess. This is especially true of non-native plants but can certainly happen to native plants as well.
One of the dangers ready to turn your landscape from hero to zero is fungi. As such, it’s important to prevent it when possible, recognize it when necessary, and treat it when identified.
If you don’t know much about fungus, don’t worry—we’re experts on the matter. After all, we’ve been keeping your Florida landscapes the picture of perfection for over 20 years. So, put on your reading glasses and get ready to learn!
Leave it to us to start a list of fungi with a parasitic alga. While not technically a fungus, algal leaf spot is an easily identified problem in the southeast United States that manifests itself as blotchy or circular spots on leaves, branches, and even fruits.
These spots, called alga colonies, are often superficial. This means they will damage the plant but flake or rinse off with time. In some cases, though, a colony will penetrate the protective membranes of a plant and cause serious damage!
The good news is this disease is easy to manage. In most cases, all you need to do is remove diseased leaves and branches from the plant and destroy them. To prevent algal spot from developing, strive to properly maintain your plants!
These spots are easy to spot (see what we did there?), giving you an advantage when trying to combat them. In fact, you’ve probably seen this fungus plague plants in your area without realizing what it was.
With a propensity for affecting flowers—especially roses—and leaves, this fungus thrives in hot, humid weather. Does that climate sound familiar?
Look for black circles with uneven edges on your ornamental and garden plants, especially this fungus’ favorite target, roses. To prevent black spot from occurring, keep your plants healthy, focus on watering roots (not leaves), and destroy any infected plant debris.
This fungus is also encouraged by high humidity, so Floridians should beware!
Also called gray mold, botrytis blight will attack just about any ornamental plant without discrimination. As such, it is important to identify this particular fungus quickly to prevent it from becoming a major problem in your garden or landscape.
Leaves affected by botrytis blight are typically easy to identify, as they sport brown wounds and gray spores. Fruit may also rot and fall from the plant. Botrytis blight in flowers is a little trickier to identify. Normal flower aging starts with the browning of exterior petals. If the browning starts with the interior petals, you may be dealing with the fungus!
Similar to the other fungi we’ve examined, treating botrytis blight involves destroying any plant material that is affected. You should also try to maintain the health of your plants, as strong, healthy plants are less susceptible to fungus.
If you haven’t noticed a trend yet, let us lay it out clearly—these diseases all thrive in warm, humid weather. That’s right, the paradise we call Florida is also the perfect breeding ground for fungi that damages ornamental plants.
Fire blight is another such disease to add to the list. Worse still, fire blight spreads with ease, making it a challenging disease to corral once it infects a plant or two on your property. As such, recognizing the symptoms early is vital.
Drooping branches and shoots, decaying flowers and fruits, discolored areas of bark, and burnt-looking leaves are all signs of fire blight. Once you’ve identified the fire blight, you will want to remove infected parts of the plant or consider treatment with a special spray. Because this particular disease is so infectious and hard to irradicate, you may have no option but to control it rather than cure it.
This aptly named fungus is no stranger to Florida. If you’ve ever seen a white film growing on your plant, you’ve seen powdery mildew. If you thought it looked gross, you were right—that white film is actually a layer of spores!
It’s more than just gross, however. Those spores can be carried by the wind to other plants in the area, allowing powdery mildew to spread. So, keep a keen eye out for plants that look as though they’ve been dusted with flour. If you see any, consider using a fungicide.
Unfortunately, if the disease has progressed too far, your only option will be to limit the spread. This can be done by removing all infected parts of affected plants—even entire plants, if you must—and destroying them.
Florida may be a state full of vibrant plant life, eye-popping color, delicious citrus, and beautiful year-round landscapes, but the same climate that makes it so fruitful also makes it susceptible to plant fungus. Don’t worry, though. With Landcrafters on your side, you can rest assured that your ornamental plants will be happy, healthy, and ready to face those mean old fungi.
If you found this article to be insightful and want to learn more, we encourage you to contact us via phone at 727-201-3947 or website. For more free information like that found in this article, feel free to visit our blog. It’s updated regularly with all sorts of helpful hints and Florida-focused landscaping insights!
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