Blue Flower

Garden foliage infected with plant disease

The Nebraska Farmers Union is offering extensive training, but here are some of the most common vegetable diseases and how to treat them:

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial spot is among the most devastating diseases that can affect peppers and tomatoes grown in warm and moist environments. The infected plants develop small, dark water-soaked spots on their leaves. The spots dry up and drop out, leaving holes in the leaves. These small dark spots will also develop on the fruit. Bacterial leaf spot also affects other vegetables including broccoli, lettuce, and cabbage-family crops living in your vegetable garden. After the disease presents in crops, it can be almost impossible to control it and prevent it from spreading and causing major fruit loss in a favorable environment. Tackle the problem by applying sulfur-based fungicides weekly as soon as the disease shows to prevent it from spreading. Also destroy any plants that have been infected heavily.

Anthracnose Disease

This is a fungal disease that infects plants by creating dead areas on the leaves and fruit. It is able to attack a range of plants, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, and beans being the ones most affected. The disease is primarily found in the eastern United States. It causes small, dark, sunken spots to appear on stems, fruit, or leaves. It spreads quickly and takes just one week to do a lot of damage. It develops thanks to cool temperatures and moisture, making it important to keep your garden fresh and clean. It’s impossible to get rid of anthracnose after it infects your garden. All you can do is aim to reduce the spread of the disease, but you may be left with little to no choice other than destroying severely infected plants. Learn more here: https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/anthracnose/

Powdery Mildew

Garden foliage contaminated with powdery mildew

Photo: Almanac.com

Unlike other kinds of fungal diseases, powdery mildew can develop and infect plants without moisture. It is also able to survive in the warmth. As such, it is able to infect plants under a range of different conditions. Plants that become infected with powdery mildew appear to be dusted with flour. Powdery mildew will typically present by covering the upper part of leaves, beginning with the older leaves; leaves will typically turn yellow and dry out. Leaves can turn brown and fall out as the infection gets worse. It causes fruit to ripen prematurely, giving it poor texture and a bad taste. The symptoms will often present later on in the growing season. Prune and stake plants to improve their air circulation. This is an effective way to prevent powdery mildew. Prevention is key because infected plants must be destroyed to avoid the risk of them spreading the disease to the rest of the garden.

Prevention is Key when it Comes to Garden Diseases

The best strategy for combating plant diseases is preventing them. Cultivate disease-resistant plants and give your plants the space they need to get good air circulation. Don’t forget that plants need to breathe too. Drip irrigation can be used to keep water drops away from plant leaves. Rotate your crops each year to prevent crops that are susceptible to disease from staying in the same soil for several years. Make sure you keep your gardening tools clean and disinfected. If you do have to removed diseased plants, then avoiding composting them. They should be burned or dumped in a landfill.

Read a related article about tree diseases that can ruin your yard, and see the below tutorial for spraying a tomato that has fungal disease.