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Preventing Fungus On Your Plants

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brown patch

Battle Against Fungus

Two things happen every Spring in my garden as soon as the weather begins to warm that drives me bonkers. First, my Clematis vines and roses come in looking spectacular, then quickly fall down into a fungus filled mess; black spot and powdery mildew. Next, what tiny bit of lawn I have often develops brown patches which I am pretty confident is fungus.

It is important to find a solution for this problem as the plants get weakened by the fungus and are further susceptible to other diseases and insect invasion.

Tips For Keeping Garden Fungus Away:Black spot

  1. Keep standing water off both your lawn and perennial plants.
  2. Clip off and pick up off the ground any diseased leaves. Discard these entirely, do not compost them as composting will spread the disease.
  3. It helps if you keep the problem plants as healthy as possible. You can do this by dosing with freshly made compost tea (like Moo Poo Tea), by keeping fresh compost around the base of the plant, and by removing old compost and mulch that has been exposed to the fungus from beneath the plant.
  4. Treat with an organic anti-fungal treatment.

I have tried many homemade organic treatments over the years with virtually none of them working. Everything from spraying the plants with a vinegar and water mixture to adding a special herb concoction into the soil.

This year I am conducting an experiment. I am going to test out a preventative fungicide known as Actinovate to see if it can make a difference. I will treat the plants and lawn IN ADVANCE of the problem to see if I can nip it in the bud. The nursery owners I have spoken with so far have give this organic treatment rave reviews.  Actinovate is an organic certified product. It uses a beneficial microorganisms to attack the fungus and keep the diseases at bay. I will make a foliar spray mix for the leafy plants being treated. Lawns can be treated by using either a pump-up sprayer or a home-end sprayer.

Mid-summer I will let you know how all my plants are doing – I will take photos for you, so you can see if the plants do better this year. Let me know if you have had success on your own or with Actinovate – – let’s rally together to fight the battle against fungus in our gardens!

Special Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am letting you know that Natural Industries supplied the Actinovate for me to experiment with in this garden. I am a spokesperson for Natural Industries and write instructional stories and videos with their  products. I donate a large portion of the vegetables I grow in my soil-improved garden to the local food pantry when harvested. Moo Poo Tea did not provide any product to be used for this story, but I have used it before and recommend it.


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  1. we've a little bit to go weather wise here in Ireland before fungus will be a problem. Currently with the temps at 7 degrees I don't think that'll be a issue just yet! Like the sound of the fungicide doubtless it isnt available here in Ireland but have sent the company an email asking them. Great post as always Shawna x.x

  2. I've already spotted a couple of infected branches. The early season warm weather might be to blame because I don't remember having this problem before. I'll give the Actinovate (sp?) a try and let you know how it works.
    Rose McD

  3. I will look forward to reading about the results of this product. I had the same problem with my phlox and bee balm and ended up pulling them to protect my roses and clematis. Since the pull the others have been okay… So far. I miss my phlox though.

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