Garden Information





A Fungus Among Us



The rainy season is here and that means fairly regular afternoon thunderstorms. All around town, you see trees, shrubs and flowers putting on fresh flushes of new growth as they soak in the welcome water. However, if you're like us, you are also starting to see mushrooms pop up throughout your yards and flower beds, which is a sure sign that there is a fungus among us. Fungus thrives in wet areas and at times of the year when the humidity is high (which is all summer in Florida). It shows up in a variety of ways, from whole limbs dying and black spots on leaves, to brown patches and mushrooms in your lawn. Fortunately there are some preventative measures that you can take to keep your plants healthy.



1. Water Smart - We always lecture folks on not watering enough, but plants can have too much of a good thing. Make sure that you turn off your sprinkler systems when we get large amounts of rain and take a break from daily hand watering. Watering an already wet flower bed is a sure way to make fungus grow. When you do water in the humid season, make sure to do so early in the morning so that the plant can take up water during the day and leave the soil relatively dry by night.



2. Keep it Clean - To avoid spreading disease, keep garden areas clean and weed free. Weeds can often be hosts for plant diseases and of course, leaving piles of rotting leaves and weeds around will definitely bring fungus to your garden. Clean all lawn tools that you use with a light bleach solution. This is especially important if you've just pruned a plant that has disease on it.



3. Plant Well - Probably one of the best things you can do to protect your plants from disease is to get them off to a good start. For most plants, use a well-drained soil, such as Kerby's Planting Soil when you plant. A good soil helps the plant get nutrients and water, but also keeps the soil from staying soggy. If the area you are planning on planting in has poor drainage, think about creating raised beds, since most plants do not want to sit with their feet wet. Check out Kerby's Planting Instructions for more information on how to make plants happy.



4. Treatment - In our humid season, no matter how clean your garden or how carefully you water, you will likely face disease issues at some point. Before a disease spreads to too many plants, treat with a good fungicide such as Copper Soap Fungicide or Liquid Systemic Fungicide (the specific fungicide that you need will depend on the disease and the type of plant.) If you have a tough plant problem, bring a picture of the plant and a leaf sample into the nursery and we can diagnose the problem for you and get you the right treatment option. There doesn't have to be a fungus among us anymore.





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