Whether you love or hate them, garden beds are the perfect place to grow a garden. However, when fungus grows around your plants and flowers in their bed, it is time for everyone to be concerned.
Luckily, some steps can help prevent this from happening again by taking care of common problems with drainage and fertilizer, as well as how often you should water your plant/s.
Table of Contents
What is fungus?
Fungus is a type of microorganism that can cause infections in humans. These infections can be mild, like athlete’s foot, or more serious, like candidiasis.
The two main types of fungi that affect gardens are mold and mildew. Mold is usually white or gray, while mildew is greenish-brown. These fungi thrive in damp conditions, such as soil, mulch, compost piles, and other moist areas.
Mold and Mildew
Fungi cause both molds and mildew. The difference is molds grow on dead organic matter (like leaves), whereas mildew grows on living organic material (like grass).
Both molds and mildews can infect plants, but they do so differently. Molds tend to grow on the surface of the plant, causing damage to the plant’s outer layer. Mildew tends to grow inside the plant, damaging its inner layers.
Take action immediately if you notice any mold or mildew on your plants. It is important not to let mold or mildew spread because it can cause severe health issues.
There are many different causes of mold and mildew. Some of the most common include:
1.) Overwatering – When you water your plants too much, you encourage mold and mildew growth. Watering your plants regularly is essential to keeping them healthy.
2.) Poor Drainage – If the soil has poor drainage, it allows moisture to sit in the ground for long periods. This encourages mold and mildew growth, which can lead to root rot.
3.) Compost – If you use composted manure or yard waste as part of your garden, you may want to consider using a cover crop instead. A cover crop is a plant that helps keep the soil covered and prevents weeds from growing.
4.) Too Much Nitrogen – Plants need nitrogen to make proteins and amino acids. Nitrogen is also needed for photosynthesis, which is the process where plants convert light energy into chemical energy. If you fertilize your garden with too much nitrogen, you can encourage mold and mildew.
5.) Excess Light – If you have an area of your garden that receives too much sunlight, it can become hot and dry. This makes it difficult for plants to get enough nutrients.
6.) Insect Damage – If you see insects eating your plants, you may want to remove them. This is because they can carry diseases that will harm your plants.
7.) Disease – Certain diseases can cause mold and mildew. For example, if you have powdery mildew disease, it will cause small white spots on your plants.
8.) Other factors can contribute to mold and mildew. You may want to check out our article about what causes mold and mildew.
Once you’ve identified the problem, you’ll want to know how to prevent future problems. Here are some symptoms to look for when identifying mold and mildew:
1.) White Spots – If you see white spots on your plants, this could mean that you have powdery mildew. Powdery mildew looks similar to a fungus but doesn’t kill your plants. Instead, it weakens their roots and stops them from absorbing nutrients.
2.) Yellow Leaves – You have a fungal leaf spot if you see yellow leaves on your plants. The leaf spot is caused by a fungus that attacks the leaves.
3.) Dry Rot – This might be dry rot if you see brown patches on your plants. Dry rot is caused by bacteria that attack the roots of your plants.
4.) Black Mold – If you see black mold on your plants, this is likely due to Botrytis cinerea. Botrytis cinerea is a fungus that grows on decaying matter. It spreads quickly and can easily destroy your entire garden.
5.) Stems That Are Curled Up – If you see stems that curl up, this could signify Verticillium wilt. Verticillium wilts are caused by fungi that live in the soil.
6.) Brown Roots – If you notice brown roots on your plants, this may indicate Phytophthora blight. Phytophthora blight is a bacterial infection that affects the roots of your plants and kills them.
7.) Stunted Growth – If you notice stunted growth in your plants, this could be a symptom of nutrient deficiency. Nutrient deficiencies can occur because your plants aren’t getting enough water or nutrients.
8.) Dead Plants – If you notice dead plants in your garden, this could result from drought stress. Drought stress occurs when insufficient water is available to support healthy plant growth.
9.) Dying Flowers – If you notice dying flowers, this could signal that your plants suffer from a lack of water.
10.) Slow Growth – If your plants grow slowly, this could be a warning sign that you need to add more fertilizer.
11.) Small Fruit Size – If you notice a smaller fruit size, this could be a problem with your plants’ nutrition.
12.) Thinning Out – If you notice that your plants are thinning out, this could be a clue that you need to fertilize your plants.
13.) Planting Too Close Together – If you notice that you have too many plants planted close together, this could indicate that you need to space them further apart.
14.) Overcrowded Plants – If you notice that one plant has grown so large that it’s taking over other plants, this could indicate that you need to prune back your plants.
15.) No Flower Buds – You must give them more light if you don’t see any flower buds on your plants.
16.) Weak Stem Strength – If you notice that the stem strength of your plants is weak, this could be a cause for concern.
17.) Poor Pollination – If you notice that pollination is poor, this could be why your plants are struggling.
18.) Low Yield – If you notice a low yield, this could be a possible reason your plants have trouble producing fruit.
19.) Unhealthy Fruit – If you notice unhealthy fruit, this could be a potential health issue with your plants.
How can you prevent fungus?
1. Keep your garden clean and free of debris.
2. Water early in the day so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.
3. Avoid overhead watering, which can promote fungal growth.
4. Use sterile potting mix and containers to avoid introducing Fungi to your plants.
5. Inspect your plants regularly for signs of fungus, such as discolored leaves or spots.
6. If you see signs of fungi, remove affected leaves or stems and destroy them (do not compost them).
7. Treat affected plants with a fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
8. Maintain good air circulation around your plants by opening windows and doors during warm weather.
9. Remove weeds and grasses from your garden beds.
10. Add mulch to help retain moisture and keep the soil cool.
11. Prune your plants to encourage new growth.
12. Provide adequate sunlight and proper ventilation.
13. Don’t overwater your plants.
14. Reduce disease pressure by keeping your plants healthy.
15. Feed your plants properly.
16. Check your plants frequently for pests and diseases.
17. Clean up fallen fruit and vegetables promptly.
18. Monitor your plants closely for symptoms of insect infestation.
19. Prevent pest problems by using natural controls.
20. Grow resistant varieties.
21. Use organic methods whenever possible.
22. Be aware of cultural practices that may increase disease susceptibility.
23. Control insects and mites.
24. Use beneficial predators and parasites.
25. Avoid planting susceptible crops near each other.
26. Use certified seed.
27. Choose appropriate cultivars.
28. Select resistant cultivars when available.
29. Avoid overcrowding.
30. Avoid transplant shock.
How can you get rid of fungi?
If you suspect that fungi have infected your garden bed, follow these steps:
1. Remove all diseased material immediately.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling diseased materials.
3. Safely dispose of diseased materials.
4. Apply a systemic fungicide according to the label directions.
5. Follow the label directions carefully. Do not apply fungicides if they contain copper.
6. Wait at least two weeks between applications.
7. Repeat treatment every three months until control is achieved.
8. Continue to monitor your plants for signs of infection.
9. Destroy any remaining diseased plant parts.
10. Remove all traces of chemicals from your garden area.
11. Never use untreated wood products in your garden.
12. Clean tools and equipment used on diseased plants.
What are the natural remedies for fungi?
There are many natural ways to treat fungus infections. Some of these include:
1. Planting resistant varieties.
2. Using organic methods whenever possible. Organic gardening uses fewer synthetic fertilizers and pesticides than conventional gardening.
3. Choosing appropriate cultivars. Cultivars are genetically modified strains of plants bred specifically for their resistance to certain diseases.
4. Using beneficial predators and parasites. Predators eat harmful insects such as aphids, caterpillars, and whiteflies. Parasitic plants like nematodes attack root-knot nematode larvae.
5. Using beneficial microorganisms. Beneficial microbes are naturally occurring organisms that live in soil and water. They feed on pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
6. Adding humic acid to the soil. Humic acids are compounds found in decaying vegetation. They help prevent fungal infections.
7. Composting. Composting involves breaking down organic matter into smaller pieces to reuse it in the garden. This helps keep nutrients in the soil where they are needed most.
8. Cover cropping. Crops are planted together to provide food for one another. For example, cover crops like buckwheat or clover attract beneficial insects, which prey on pests.
9. Mulching. Mulch keeps weeds under control and prevents moisture loss from the soil surface. It also protects roots from drying out.
10. Soil solarization. Solarization kills weed seeds and pathogens in the soil. To do this, place black plastic over the soil. Then, remove the plastic after several days.
11. Spreading mulches. A thick layer of mulch around plants reduces evaporation from the soil.
12. Watering deeply. Deep watering encourages air circulation through the soil, which helps prevent disease.
13. Weeding. Regular weeding removes weeds and other unwanted growths from the soil.
14. Using biological controls. Biological controls are living organisms that kill pests and insects. These may include ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, predatory mites, and spiders.
What are the chemical remedies for fungi?
Chemical treatments work by killing off the fungus with a pesticide. There are different types of fungicides available. Some are labeled for specific problems, while others are general purpose.
Some common fungicides include
1. Copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is an effective fungicide when applied directly to infected areas. However, it should never be used near trees or shrubs because it can harm them.
2. Mancozeb. Mancozeb is a systemic fungicide that works by penetrating plant tissues. It is often used to protect young fruit against powdery mildew.
3. Metalaxyl. Metalaxyl is a broad-spectrum fungicide commonly used to control powdery mildew and rust.
4. Methyl bromide. Methyl bromine is an effective fungicide that controls powdery and downy mildews. However, it is toxic to humans and animals.
5. Triflumizole. Triflumzole is a systemic fungicide that controls powdery, downy, and gray mold. It is not recommended for use on fruits and vegetables.
6. Ziram. Ziram is a systemic fungicide. It is used to control powdery mold and downy mildew. It is safe for people and pets but can cause skin irritation if you come into contact with it.
7. Benzimidazoles. Benzimidazole fungicides are systemic fungicides used to control powdery or downy mildew.
8. Azoxystrobin. Azoxystrobin is a systemic fungicide that controls powder, downy mildew, and white rot.
9. Fluopyram. Fluopyram is a systemic fungicide similar to azoxystrobin. It is used to treat powdery mildew and white rot.
10. Fludioxonil. Fludioxonil is a systemic fungicide with activity against powdery mildew and downy mildew, as well as white rot and anthracnose.
11. Pyrimethanil. Pyrimethamine is a systemic fungicidal agent that controls powder, downy, and grey mold.
12. thiophanate-methyl. Thiophanatemethyl is a systemic fungicide for controlling powdery mildew and gray mold.
13. Triadimefon. Triadimefone is a systemic fungicide active against powdery mildew, downy mildew, and white rot.
14. Benomyl. Benomyl is a systemic fungicide commonly used to control powder and grey mold.
How can you prevent Fungi in the future?
1. Avoid overwatering your plants. Too much moisture creates the perfect environment for Fungi to thrive.
2. Improve air circulation around your plants by spacing them out appropriately and pruning any overgrown areas.
3. Use fungicide treatments as a last resort, only when necessary. Some fungicides can be harmful to plants and the environment if used excessively.
4. Keep your garden clean. Clean up fallen leaves and debris from around your plants. This will help keep your soil healthy and free of disease.
5. Be sure to water your plants thoroughly after applying fertilizer. If you don’t, you may encourage fungi to grow.
What common mistakes do people make when trying to get rid of fungi?
1. People often think that they can treat the symptoms of their fungal infection, which will be enough to eliminate the fungi. However, this is not the case. The fungus needs to be treated directly to be eliminated.
2. People often think they can treat their fungal infection with over-the-counter medications. While these medications may help relieve the symptoms, they will not eliminate the fungus. You need to see a doctor and get prescription medication to eliminate fungal infections.
3. People sometimes try to self-diagnose their condition and treat it accordingly. This is a mistake because many conditions have similar symptoms, and you could treat something entirely different than what you have.
If you suspect a fungal infection, you should see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. How Do I Know If The Fungus Has Infected My Plant
You should look at your plant’s leaves and stems carefully. You might notice some spots or patches on the leaves or stems. These spots or patches are usually dark brown or black. They appear like small dots or splotches.
2. What Causes Fungi?
Fungus is caused by a type of microorganism called a fungus. It is a single-celled organism that grows in groups called hyphae. Hyphae are long, threadlike structures that branch off from one another.
3. Can Fungi Spread Through The Air?
Yes, but it is very unlikely. Most airborne particles are too large to travel far. When spores land on a leaf or other surface, however, they can germinate into new hyphae.
4. Is There Anything I Can Do About Fungi?
Yes. You can do several things to reduce the risk of getting Fungi. First, avoid using fertilizers and pesticides near your plants. Second, maintain good air circulation around your plants. Third, keep your garden clean. And finally, use fungicide treatments as a final option only when necessary (see above).
5. Why Do Fungi Cause Problems For Me?
Fungi are microscopic organisms that live all around us. They feed on dead organic matter, such as decaying leaves and woody material. As they break down these materials, they release carbon dioxide and other gases, contributing to global warming.
A healthy and thriving garden is something every gardener aspires to, and preventing and getting rid of the fungus in garden beds is an essential step in achieving that goal. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can effectively combat fungal invaders and promote a flourishing garden environment. Remember that prevention is always better than cure, so take the time to learn about the fungi that may affect your plants and implement proactive measures to keep them at bay.