Diseases Caused by Fungus in Plants

Like humans and animals, plants can contract illness and disease. Fungal diseases are prevalent among plants and should be treated immediately to avoid cross contamination. While some fungal diseases can be seriously detrimental, others can be simply a nuisance, causing reduce blooming, fruit production and distorted appearance.

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is a soil borne fungal disease that attacks the plant through its root system. This disease is found throughout all areas and attacks woody and herbaceous plants alike. Symptoms of verticillium wilt appear only after the plant's internal system has been infected. Its symptoms pattern many other diseases and health issues, including leaf curl, dieback and yellowing. Effective treatment of the disease is possible if addressed within the early stages of infection.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease spread through airborne fungal spores. These spores are created, and spread, during periods of high humidity. Once settled, the spores overwinter and infect the tree during the early spring. The infection appears a dusty coating on the underside of the foliage. As the fungus establishes, the coating begins to appear as powdery white spots. This mild disease can be easily treated with fungicidal treatments and usually has no permanent adverse affects.


Anthracnose is a water-borne fungal disease that develops on old foliage and cankered branches during the late fall. In the early spring, the disease is spread with rainfall and watering attacking young foliage and branches. Anthracnose causes dead spots throughout the infected areas, generally appearing along the vein lines. If left untreated, the infection will pass through the foliage and branches into the trunk, causing defoliation and death. Anthracnose can be treated with generous pruning of deadened and infected areas, removal of surrounding debris and fungicidal treatments.

Sooty Mold

Sooty mold is a fungal disease that attacks plants with airborne fungal spores, which are blown through the air and cover the plant with a charcoal-colored fungus. This fungal disease is created by the secretions of the plant that are caused by the feeding of insects on the plant. The honeydew secretions develop into a fungal soot that covers the plant and grows on its surface. Though the plant is not infected, its growth is inhibited because of a lack of sunlight and proper air circulation. Sooty mold is easily washed away with water and fungicidal spray. But successful elimination is only achieved with the combined treatment of the insect infestation.

Keywords: soil borne fungal diseases, plant diseases caused by fungus, fungal diseases that attacks plants

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994, and her writing career began with her business career. Her business has successfully assisted many clients with start-ups, development, and expansions. She has a bachelor's degree in business and has published with Identity Theft Chat, Garden Guides, eHow, Travels, Associated Content and others.