By Josie Borlongan, Garden Guides Contributor
Anthracnose appears on different crops from beans to tomatoes. When this fungus attacks fruits or pods, the infected areas become susceptible to other pathogens.
Anthracnose spores are spread by the wind or splashing rain; insects are also known to carry and transfer these spores to plants. Human beings working with wet plants can also transfer these spores from plant to plant. During wet conditions, the spores can easily penetrate through leaf surface or plant wounds.
Prevention and Control
Anthracnose can be prevented by removing and composting infected plant parts or plants. Avoid using overhead sprinklers in watering the garden. To prevent the anthracnose from spreading, spray with sulfur; however, this method will not be very effective during wet or rainy weather for it is difficult to apply the spray effectively without being washed away by water or rain.
Check fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes as soon as they ripen. Wash and dry healthy looking fruits before storing. Separate the infected fruits from healthy ones to prevent transferring the spores.
Small brown spots appear on leaves that can grow larger to larger and circular patches, causing the leaves to yellow, curl and fall early. This will lead to brown sunken areas. Leaves, stems and pod tissues may be killed, and in severe cases, the plant will die.
* Neem oil extracted from the tropical neem tree can be used as an insecticide or fungicide. Begin applying it at about the time symptoms start to develop.
* Copper, which is a natural mineral, can also be used as dust or foliar spray. It is the strongest organic fungicide and bactericide available.
* Bacillus subtilis is a bacterium that out-competes some plant pathogens, such as anthracnose. It is used as foliar spray to prevent fungal diseases.
Other Methods of Control
* Garden Cleanup: Since anthracnose can survive on seeds, weeds and crop debris even through the winter ensure that after harvesting to clean up the area. Start removing weeds and crop debris and make sure to throw them or compost.
* Choose Plants Wisely: Next time you plant, choose resistant varieties of known vulnerable plants. When you notice the plants are infected, you can start uprooting and removing them so as not to infect other plantings.
* Crop Rotation: Every 2 years, rotate crop families to break the disease cycle.