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Diseases in Your landscape

Landscapers and homeowners alike often overlook the presence of disease in the landscape and more focus on scouting for the presence of insects. Diseases in the landscape affects landscape just as bad or even worse than insects. Reason being, is that most times it is easier to kill the insect than to control disease in the landscape. Yes, I say control disease and not kill because fungicides do not completely get rid of the disease. The disease will reoccur if conditions are favorable. For disease to be present there must be three factors in place; pathogens, host and a favorable environment.

Diseases: A few of the common lawn diseases in our area are; dollar spot, large spot also refers to as brown patch and Take-All-Root Rot. During the rainy summer months, residents of Florida are encouraged to be on the lookout for take-all-root rot disease. The take-all-root rot pathogen may be present on grass root and is activated by long period of excess moisture in the soil. At first the symptoms appear as a small, circular reddish spot patches after which it developed into a brown or bronze color. The diseases that affect turf are different from those that affect shrubs and trees. To maintain healthy plants, it is important not to over fertilize or over water, such practices will foster the development of diseases.

Most fungicides are only effective for only about twenty-one days after application. Therefore, if the disease is not suppressed during that period, a new application must be made. Please note that more of the same fungicide or even pesticide over all is not always the answer. Sometimes the answer could be to break the disease triangle by removing the favorable condition. The favorable condition could be too much water on the leaves or soil saturated with water. Diseases strive very well where there is too much moisture for extended period. On the other hand, pesticides rotation could be the answer. Pesticides rotation does not mean changing pesticides based on names only but changing pesticide base on mode of action.

For more information on plant diseases or any other related horticulture topic, contact Grantly Ricketts at UF/IFAS Extension in Osceola County at 321-697-3000 or email at gricketts@ufl.edu

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