There are several U.S. Department of Agriculture growing zones in the state of Georgia, ranging from 6b to 8b. All of these zones can have periods of below-freezing temperatures, but it's the warm, humid summers that encourage fungal growth. For that reason, it is not uncommon for landscape plants, fruits and even vegetables to suffer from fungal diseases. Usually, these diseases manifest as unsightly spots on the leaves, stems and fruit of the plant.
Fungus spots can appear on any part of a plant in Georgia, but they are most commonly seen on the leaves, according to the University of Georgia. The spots can be tiny and orange or red in color, or they can be much larger and appear yellow, brown or black. They may be asymmetrical in shape, or quite rounded, and some have a "halo," or border that differs in color from the center of the spot.
The appearance of such spots signifies a fungal disease. These diseases are quite prevalent during warm, humid springs and summers. The spots may not be life-threatening to the plant, or they may signify a much more serious problem. In general, spots on the leaves are usually just unsightly. Spots that appear on the stems and trunk may mean that the plant is rotting from the inside out, or that it is suffering from a fungal disease that is affecting the roots of the plant.
There are many types of fungi that can affect Georgia plants. Leaf blister is one fungal disease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most fungi are simply grouped together as "leaf spot," although they may appear much different from each other and can affect fruit as well as leaves. Rust diseases, which are also caused by fungi, tend to appear as bright orange splotches rather than spots.
If the fungal infection is severe, it can sometimes cause the plant to lose its leaves prematurely. Treatment may include pruning off affected areas of the plant to prevent the fungus from spreading. Do not let infected leaves lie on the soil, as the fungus may overwinter in the ground. Instead, rake them up and destroy them.
Prevention is the best way to ensure that your plant does not become affected with fungal spots. Spray ornamental plants with a fungicide in the spring, before the leaves uncurl. Make sure there is plenty of room for air to circulate around your plants, so that the leaves can dry quickly. Also, start new plants where they will be exposed to morning sunlight, which will dry the dew from the leaves.