Anthracnose Disease in Houseplant
Anthracnose is one of the most common causes of leaves becoming spotted. Although there are a variety of causes, today we will analyze one particular one: anthracnose.
There are many types of plants infected with this fungal disease, which affects fruits and vegetables as well as grains, trees (both fruiting and non-fruiting), and ornamentals. Although it generally does not kill plants, it can develop into something quite severe and is very common.
Anthracnose is a disease that can be easily identified and treated if it occurs. More importantly, though, we will find out how to prevent it in the first place! Prevention is always better than cure!
What Is Anthracnose?
Anthracnose is the name given to several types of fungi that produce a particular set of symptoms. A large number of anthracnose-related symptoms are due to the Colletotrichum species.
The best-known of these fungi is Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, a species that is particularly damaging to hundreds of plant types, including grasses, cereal crops, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and annual crops.
Although C. gloeosporioides primarily causes anthracnose, the fungus is not limited to these specific fungi or even to this particular genus.
As an example, tomato anthracnose is caused by Colletotrichum coccodes. By comparison, sycamore anthracnose is caused by Apiognomona veneta, a totally different fungal species.
A number of different fungal agents can cause anthracnose, but thanks to treatment, the overall management will remain the same.
Life Cycle Of Anthracnose
Unlike fungi, anthracnose spreads via spores. Once an infected companion plant produces the spores, they can be distributed by the wind, spreading quickly from one plant to another. They may also be propagated by spraying water on other plants.
Infected plants spread the disease rapidly, causing damage to leaves, stems, and fruit. It can persist over winter in plant debris or soil and may infect seeds, infecting them and spreading the disease through subsequent plantings. Most damage occurs in the spring and early summer.
Anthracnose symptoms decrease rapidly during hot weather. When the weather is consistently hot, fungal growth slows and stops altogether. They may return once the weather cools back down.
It is during the wet, mild spring and fall season when anthracnose is most prevalent, as well as when symptoms spread the fastest. Be vigilant in both of these seasons for signs of anthracnose infection.
Symptoms of Anthracnose
The symptoms of anthracnose infection vary greatly because it can affect many types of plants. We will introduce you to some of the main symptoms of anthracnose in this article.
Early Anthracnose Detection
On a turf lawn, or even the lawn of the average homeowner, you may notice yellowed patches of grass. These are usually easy to remove, but may also occur sporadically throughout the lawn.
Affected leaves, stems, and fruits generally begin showing small spots of anthracnose that can be yellow, brown, or black, depending on how they age and develop.
Wheat plants often have leaf streaking rather than spotting, but the streaking is patchy and typically yellow when the crop is first established.
The leaves of trees susceptible to Anthracnose will also develop leaf spots early on. Young leaves will bend or become deformed. Fruit will appear spotted and may become damaged during this phase.
Later Anthracnose Progression
When turf grasses are infected with anthracnose, the leafy portion turns rusty red-brown. This fungus can also cause basal rot, which leads to the roots rotting and dying off.
A dark spot may develop on stems or on parts of fruit and can increase in size over time, darkening to a black color and taking over entire leaves or branches. Eventually, the spots may fall out, leaving holes in leaf surfaces.
This will lead to fruit rot on the fruit, but if the plant is strong and healthy otherwise, it should survive with proper care. Fruit rot may appear pink and sunken on the surface, and may contain spore masses.
There can be a tendency for cereal crops such as wheat or corn to begin to die back. This can continue even through the hottest months of the year. Lesions may start to appear on the stalks and may develop into stalk rot.
The infections can cause leaves to drop prematurely, sometimes destroying a tree. Cankers may develop on branches and leaf ends and can cause the trunk to girdle. Fruit can become rotten, as well as show extensive spotting.
When trees recover from anthracnose infections, new growth may appear twisted or twisted in appearance. Although mild anthracnose infections can cause trees to survive, severe infections can be badly damaging.
Let’s get a handle on the symptoms of anthracnose disease and delve into the processes involved in treating it. We’ll also discuss prevention techniques you can use to halt it from taking hold.
First, let’s start with a multipurpose treatment.
In addition to preventing this disease from developing on leaves or stems, Neem oil also helps prevent aphids and other pests from carrying spores onto your plants, so it’s a good idea to use it anyway!
Another good fungicide to use to prevent fungal diseases is Serenade Garden. It is an organic fungicide that kills off fungal growth using Bacillus subtilis. It is quite effective against most strains of anthracnose.
It is also possible that a sulfur dust fungicide will be effective for you. It works well to deal with fungal infections, and can be used dried on leaves or mixed with water and sprayed on plants.
If none of the above methods work, you may wish to consider a liquid copper fungicide.
You can use the methods above on lawns, trees, vegetables/fruits/grains, and ornamental plants, too. If you must use chemicals, there are easy-to-dispense turf fungicides that are safe around children and pets.
If you’re worried that some fruit could develop diseased areas, you can sterilize it by soaking it entirely in hot water for at least five minutes. The water should be at least 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
If this partially cooks the outside of the fruits, some storage rot may occur, so it may be most convenient to just watch for signs of rot and to weed out the damaged fruit at that time.
Since prevention is the best defense against these species of fungus, let’s discuss how to prevent anthracnose from taking control.
Having a well-kept yard and garden eliminates the possibility of fungus overwintering, as well as making sure that any spores that could form are removed, hopefully before they infect the soil.
It is especially important to keep plants spaced and pruned so that they will supply good airflow in the spring and fall, when a little rain can create perfect conditions for fungal growth.
It is important to keep your pruning tools and your hands clean while trimming between plants. This will prevent spores from being carried to the next plant.
You should use an irrigation system that does not directly spray your plants or cause splashback of soil on the plants. If there are any fungal spores in your soil, splashback can bring them up onto the plants, where they can become deadly.
Avoid placing fruit on the soil surface when it is growing to prevent fungus from developing within the fruit itself.
The healthier your plants are, the more likely they are to resist the effects of anthracnose. Maintaining healthy soil and fertilizing your plants regularly will help them thrive and resist infection.
It is also important to plant resistant or tolerant species as well as disease-free seeds so that you can prevent infection. While resistant species may still have some problems with fungal diseases, they are better able to maintain their health.
Crop rotation can also help your plants avoid damage from fungal spores by preventing them from building up in the soil and damaging them.