Lawn & Garden Safe Fungus & Disease Control Products
Fungicides have long been part of disease management in gardens, greenhouses, and lawns. In do it yourself lawn care, lawn diseases and garden diseases can be difficult to control and get rid of, and fungus-based diseases are no different. Since it can be tricky, knowing more about fungicides, how they work, and how to use them can help you choose the best product for your needs.
Here are the top five lawn diseases and how you can identify, inspect for, treat, and prevent them:
Fungicides are chemicals or ingredients that inhibit the growth of fungi on plants. There are many different active ingredients that help to achieve control, and different ingredients will work for certain plants and certain diseases. The types of diseases fungicides control include rots, spots, and rusts, among others and you can use fungicides to treat lawns (turf & grass), gardens, and other plants, even indoors. Fungicides only help manage some plant diseases and will only work on infections plant diseases if the disease is truly caused by fungi.
Types of Fungicides
Fungicides come in a wide variety of applications, from liquids to granules and organic to commercial and can be systemic or contact.
Systemic Fungicides: A type of fungicide that moves through the plant to provide post infection treatment. Not all systemic fungicides will flow through the entire plant, but instead will only treat certain parts.
Knowing that there are different kinds of fungicides, it can be difficult to choose the right product for your needs. There is a long list of chemical ingredients to control fungus. Natural or organic formulations commonly contain sulfur, copper, oils, and bicarbonates as the active ingredient:
Sulfur is commonly used to prevent powdery mildew, black spots, and rusts and must be applied as a preventative.
Copper can damage plants but a copper sulfate with lime mixture (Bordeaux mixture) makes it safer for plants as well as antibacterial.
Oils, like horticultural oils, are commonly used for insect control, but controlling insects can prevent the spread of diseases carried by insects like aphids.
Bicarbonates (baking soda) have been used for many years and is very effective when combined with oils.
The most important part about using fungicides is choosing the right one for both the disease you need to treat and the plant with the disease. Identifying the plant disease can be very difficult. If you’re not sure, contact your local extension office or master gardener for help. The product must be applied at the right time of year and frequently enough, so using the wrong product can result in the disease being left untreated or damage to the plant. Keep these things in mind when using a fungicide:
Always check the product label to ensure the plant you wish to treat is listed.
The rates and doses listed on the product must be followed. If the product is not working, do not increase the dose or rate; you may have chosen the wrong product and over-applying will damage the plants.
Fungicides are very effective preventatively. Once the pathogen has entered the plant tissue, it can be very hard to get rid of it.
Many formulas are contact fungicides, which means they will only protect what it has come in contact with. You must ensure the entire surface of the plant has been treated with the product. Any time the product degrades or the plant outgrows the application, the plant is no longer protected.
You will most likely have to reapply the fungicide in 7-14 day intervals over the growing season due to weathering and chemical breakdown.