Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Problem Area - Plant Diseases ... Botrytis!

Good Morning!
Today I am starting off a series on 'Plant Diseases'.
Plant disease is a fungal, bacterial or viral organism which interferes with the normal growth rate of plants, producing visible symptoms that reduce economic or aesthetic quality.

The focus of today's post is a Fungal Disease and these have visible symptoms such as -
Leaves producing spots, wilting & curled leaves, dieback, enlargements (galls) and stunted / dead plants. Some fungi's produce other visible signs such as rusts, mildew & sooty moulds.

This is a very common disease, especially on plants in a Greenhouse at this time of year as it favours conditions of low temperatures, high humidity and poor ventilation.
This disease produces fuzzy grey mould and can be expected at any time of year on a wide range of plants.

Here are a few things you can look out for ...

- As the picture shows above there is a formation of grey fuzzy mould, as soon as you spot this on any material remove it immediately.

- When this disease is established it can cause damage to developing fruit on plants such as Tomatoes & Strawberries causing them to rot and fall from the plant.

- On plants grown outside the buds and flowers may be have shrivelled and died.

- Small black seed like structures form in the infected material.

- On Soft Fruit e.g. Gooseberries the grey mould isn't as evident and the infection kills the branches.

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent this ...

- When trimming leaf stalks and removing material make sure you do it cleanly.
Botrytis can gain hold easily on badly trimmed material.

- Remove affected material immediately to prevent the disease spreading. Don't leave any of this material hanging around, dispose of straight away. Check your plants daily.

- Regular dead-heading of flowering plants.

- Good ventilation (i.e. opening GH doors and windows) to allow good air flow and don't overcrowd plants.

- Careful watering ... avoid getting any water on the plant and ideally water in the morning so that it has dried by nightfall.

I hope you have found this helpful.

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