How to Identify Fungal Diseases in Your Plants and What You Can Do About It

Amir Tajer

Posted on June 15 2018

Most plant diseases – around 85 percent – are caused by fungal or fungal-like organisms. Fungi propagate through sexual as well as asexual methods and spread through spores that are produced in abundance. As such, if one of your plants has been infected by a fungus, it is vital that you protect your other plants to stop it from spreading rapidly.

Common Fungal Diseases

Clubroot is an infection which is found in turnips, cauliflower, cabbages, radishes and other plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family. It's caused by the Plasmodiophora brassicae fungus. When plants are affected by this disease the color of their leaves begins to change to a greenish-blue, and if you were to pull out the roots they would break easily.

Black spot is the most serious disease that roses can catch. It's caused by a fungus, Diplocarpon rosae, which infects the leaves and greatly reduces plant vigor, resulting in a tired looking plant. When black spot affects your roses, you can expect to see leaf markings in springtime which continue to flourish until the infected leaves are removed from the plant. This particular fungus is genetically diverse and new strains arise rapidly. This means that the resistance bred into new varieties of rose usually fails to last due to new strains of the fungus arising.

Dry Rot is caused by the fungus Serpula lacrymans, commonly known as true dry rot fungus. This disease is prevalent all around the world and causes timber, potatoes, bulbs, and fruits to crumble and dry.

Why Your Plant Might Be Prone and How to Prevent Fungal Growth

Prevention is the best cure. Without healthy soil, trying to grow plants will be a never-ending battle of treating symptoms, and as such you should do your best to ensure that your plants’ soil is of the highest quality.

Improper irrigation may lead to plants contracting fungal diseases. Irrigating your plants with a sprinkler or overhead irrigation system is much less water efficient than using drip lines and can also lead to plants getting wet leaves, which makes them more susceptible to fungal infections.

If you've noticed an infection that keeps coming back regardless of what preventative measures you have in place, it could be because you're not washing and disinfecting your gardening tools between uses. Rubbing alcohol is a cheap and effective means of cleaning.

Diagnosing and Treating Fungal Infections

Correctly identifying affected plants is one of the first steps in diagnosing a fungal disease. It is vital that you’re aware of the normal appearance of your plants, so you can decide whether anything is wrong. If you do not know what to expect of the plant, then you will not be able to recognize when there is something wrong. Should your plants reach a stage where your efforts show no improvement, then your only choice is to throw the whole plant out before it infects your other plants.

Not to worry! Natural fungicides, such as a copper sulfate based solution or Bordeaux mixture made from our Copper Sulfate Crystals, can combat fungal diseases as effectively as chemical and synthetic treatments can. They are also relatively cheap to make and aren't harmful to wildlife. Natural fungicides are made from the good kind of bacteria and can be an extremely effective way of managing fungal diseases in plants.