Anthracnose Prevention


Anthracnose is a term used to describe a type of fungus that attacks a wide variety of trees, shrubs and vegetable plants in outdoor gardens. The garden disease appears first as yellow-tinged leaves on trees, shrubs or vegetable plants, most commonly pumpkin, squash and cucumber plants, that turn brown. Also called 'blight', anthracnose causes a ragged round hole to appear in leaves, and elongated brownish spots often appear on the stems, creating a sickly plant that doesn't produce and eventually dies.

Step 1

Purchase healthy plants when landscaping a yard or planting starters in a garden, regardless of variety, Trees and vegetable plants are very susceptible to anthracnose or blight, so carefully examine plants for tell-tale signs of blight prior to purchase. Look for dark spots, yellowed, crinkly leaves, or leaves with holes in them. Peer under leaves and take a look at stems for signs of spots or holes that may signal a less than healthy plant sample.

Step 2

Plant trees, vegetables or shrubs far enough apart to that they all receive adequate sunshine and air circulation. This will help leaves dry faster and ensure that plants won't be as likely to spread disease from one plant to another. It is very difficult to treat blight during a current growing season, but gardeners should rake and dispose of fallen leaves and twigs throughout the growing season and into the fall. In early winter, prune back affected twigs or branches of the shrub to increase air circulation.

Step 3

Talk to experts at your local garden or nursery center and ask for advice regarding anthracnose-susceptible species of trees, shrubs and vegetable plants, such as American sycamore, pumpkin and squash varieties. After every year's harvest, turn or Roto-till plant debris deep into the soil and move crops or seed sections to different different areas within the garden area for seasonal vegetable planting.

Step 4

Water from ground level. Overhead watering may increase the chance of leaves remaining wet and soggy, which may lead to other fungal diseases besides anthracnose. Prior to rainy seasons, spray plants with a fungicide containing copper, which is the only type that will prove somewhat effective against anthracnose. However, it is often best to dig up the affected plant, shrub or sapling tree if signs of anthracnose or blight are noticed in order to protect surrounding plants and shrubs.

Tips and Warnings

  • If left untended, plants affected with anthracnose may spread the blight to surrounding plants.


  • UC Davic: Anthracnose
  • Disease Management in Home Vegetable Gardens
Keywords: anthracnose, preventing anthracnose, blight

About this Author

Denise Stern is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for more than seven years. Stern regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites and has an associate and specialized business degree in health information management and technology.