Natural Remedies for Fungal Diseases Your Plants can’t Fight Alone

planting in mulch
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Natural Remedies for Fungal Diseases Your Plants can’t Fight Alone

Most public places offer free hand sanitizer so germs don’t spread. Plants don’t have that luxury. Your plants share lawn beds with other living organisms and without proper care, contamination can occur. Lawn sanitation and treatments, however, preserve your garden’s health. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s making your plants sick?

Microorganisms living in the soil or atop plant leaves are hard to see. How do you know what to look for?  White powdery substances, tiny holes and even brown spots in your lawn are signs your plant needs sanitation. Here’s a list of organisms that make your plants sick:

  1. Aphids: are too small for the human eye to see. Look for yellow leaves or black stems and feel for a sticky substance on leaves and stems, which is a liquid left behind by the insects.
  2. Powdery mildew: is a white fungal residue that looks like baking soda on plant leaves. Mildew damage can dry out leaves and turn them yellow. Hot, humid climates support fungus growth.
  3. Grubs (worms): live under the soil. These little critters chow on grass roots and plants causing sections of your lawn to die.
  4. Mosquitoes: feed on organic debris, decaying leaves, and microorganisms. If plants are sick, mosquitoes appear to clear the waste, however, they carry various diseases.

Plant fungal vaccines

You can purchase pesticides at your local garden retailer, but if you’re not in favor of using chemical-based solutions, try these home remedies for plant recovery. It’s possible that you already have products in your home that naturally prevent fungus from growing. Here are a few home remedies to try:  

  • Dissolve aphids by spraying plants with dish soap and water, which causes the aphid membrane to decay.
  • Remove powdery mildew by mixing milk or baking soda with water and spraying plants to dissolve the powder.
  • June is grub season; liquid Nematodes mixed with water sprayed in grub area is one of many natural solutions that infect and kill grubs.
  • Avoid swarms of mosquitoes by eliminating standing water or purchase a bird a feeder, as some local birds eat up to 200 mosquitoes a day.

Because plant disease is contagious, checking plant health before purchase is important. If you don’t, a sick plant can infect your soil and spread fungal diseases throughout your lawn.

Keeping plants healthy means you have to sanitize their living space. Trimming, pruning and regularly cleaning debris will make plants less vulnerable to fungal diseases. Using healthy topsoil as a life source for your plants or mulch to stop soil erosion improves the quality of your plants. At McCarty Mulch and Stone, we understand that your plant’s quality of life is important to you. Call us today for landscape advice.

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Beautify Your Yard With These Shade-Loving Plants

Plants in Shaded Areas

There’s nothing like a backyard filled with trees to give you much-needed relief during the blazing months of summer. But all that shade can present a challenge for gardeners since many plants prefer the full sun.

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard that’s shrouded by trees, don’t despair. You may never have a thriving vegetable garden, but you can still enjoy the company of numerous plants that do well in the shade.

Take a look at these shade-loving plant options.

Perennial bulbs. When planted in a sunny spot, tulips pop up year after year. But there’s no reason you can’t plant tulips in your shady yard. Keep in mind they’ll only bloom once in the shade, because they need summer sun to recharge. Plant your tulip bulbs in the fall and dig them up after the flowers die.

Early-blooming bulbs like crocus will get plenty of sun before trees sprout leaves. These small, colorful flowers are well suited to lightly shaded areas and will multiply every year. Plant them in the fall, when temperatures are consistently below 60 degrees but above freezing.

Hardy flowers. Many shade-tolerant perennial flowers have a wispy, delicate appearance, but they’re actually quite hardy. Columbine is one of the most robust, low-maintenance plants for shaded yards. It has long, thin stalks with trumpet-like flowers. Some varieties have double flowers in two colors – and when they’re done flowering, they produce numerous seedpods. You can snap off the seedpods, roll them between your fingers and let the seeds fall to the ground, and you’ll have more plants the following year. You may get a nice surprise, too, because sometimes plants with different colored flowers will produce a hybrid multi-colored plant.

Ferns and hostas. If you’re not too concerned with adding lots of color in shady areas, you can’t go wrong with ferns and hostas, both of which are perennials. Ostrich ferns may be slow growing at first as they establish a root system, but at maturity, they can reach a height of 40 inches. They may also be up to 30 inches wide, so plant them far apart.

Hostas have broad green leaves that may feature contrasting yellow or white markings, and some varieties produce stalks with white or lilac flowers. These plants are known for their ability to grow almost anywhere and withstand neglect. Slugs love hostas, so if you see holes in the leaves, bury a shallow pan of soapy water or beer near the plants at ground level, and the slugs will crawl in die.

Plants growing in shady areas may be competing with trees for water, or they may get too much water, because shaded areas are the last to dry after a rainstorm. So after you plant your shade garden, add a thick layer of mulch to help balance moisture – and then sit back and enjoy the view.