help­ing HAND

Tips for tack­ling this month’s prob­lems

Gardening Australia - - IN THE PATCH -

MAN­AG­ING DIS­EASE

As tem­per­a­tures and hu­mid­ity rise, fo­liage diseases start to ap­pear in the patch, par­tic­u­larly on toma­toes and zuc­chi­nis. Gen­er­ally, these are easy to man­age if you get onto them early, but if you ig­nore them they can quickly take hold and set plants back. Get into the habit of walk­ing around the patch every few days to re­move any­thing that looks spotty or weird (nor­mally found on older leaves) and toss it into your gen­eral rub­bish bin. This keeps plants tidy and elim­i­nates a ma­jor source of fun­gal spores that would oth­er­wise spread. Avoid wet­ting fo­liage when wa­ter­ing as this splashes spores about and cre­ates ideal con­di­tions for fo­liage diseases to flour­ish.

OR­GANIC FUNGI­CIDES

If dis­ease is get­ting away from you, de­spite your ef­forts to re­move dam­aged ma­te­rial, con­sider ap­ply­ing an or­ganic fungi­cide to the re­main­ing healthy fo­liage to help con­tain out­breaks. Fungi­cides add a layer of pro­tec­tion to the leaf, pre­vent­ing fun­gal spores from ger­mi­nat­ing. Cop­per hy­drox­ide can be ap­plied to toma­toes to as­sist in man­ag­ing sep­to­ria leaf spot. Or­ganic prod­ucts based on potas­sium bi­car­bon­ate ef­fec­tively shield zuc­chini fo­liage from pow­dery mildew and kill ex­ist­ing fun­gal spores as well. Reap­ply fungi­cides af­ter rain and al­ways fol­low direc­tions on the prod­uct la­bel.

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