Fungal pests cause enormous economic losses every year in all types of crops. Fighting them is not always easy and, in many cases, the only possible solution is to destroy all infected plants or crops.
This time we are going to talk about anthracnose or fungal leaf spot, a disease caused by one of the most dangerous and widespread fungi, especially in hot and humid areas. If you want to learn more about what is anthracnose and its treatmentamong other details, join us in this EcologíaVerde article.
what is anthracnose
also called canker or chancreanthracnose is a symptom of disease of the plants affected by fungus of the genera Gloeosporium, Collectotrichum and Coniothyrium fuckelii.
It usually occurs in tropical climates, with high temperatures and humidity, and can be recognized by the Brown spots that appear on the leaves of plants, around the nerves. They start as small circular spots, which darken and become necrotic. In addition to heat and humidity levels above 90%, one of the most common causes of its appearance is the suffering of wounds by the plant, either due to careless pruning, blows or insect attack. .
Regarding which crops are the most likely to suffer its attack, mainly citrus fruits, olive trees and some vegetables can be found. In this way, it is not difficult to see anthracnose symptoms in mango, avocado, tomato, papaya or even in coffee.
It is rare that anthracnose can cause serious damage to most plant species, but it is a serious economic loss due to the aesthetic damage it causes to the fruits, which are no longer suitable for sale due to the numerous gray spots that exhibit. Taking this into account, and the fact that the pest especially affects farm crops, it is a much more serious problem for farmers than for hobby gardeners or owners of small orchards.
If your plants show dark marks on the leaves, it could be due to anthracnose, but there are other possible causes. Here you can learn more about brown spots on plants.
Symptoms and signs of anthracnose in crops
There are unmistakable signs that plants are suffering from such a fungal infection. So if you see some of these anthracnose symptoms on the leaves of your plants, do not hesitate to quickly start taking the measures and treatments that you will see later.
- Round, dark spots on the leaves.
- Decay of leaves and stems.
- Premature drop of fruits and flowers.
- Round and dark spots on the fruits.
There are a lot of measures that can be taken as prevention and treatment to combat the attack of anthracnose. These are some of them:
- Disinfect the soil before planting: the use of ecological type fungicides is recommended, although you can also find chemical products in specialized stores. A properly disinfected soil will be much less likely to have the right conditions for the development of anthracnose and other types of fungi. In addition to applying it as prevention, if these fungi appear, it is best to remove the affected parts (or the entire plant) and apply more fungicide. Here we tell you all about the most effective homemade fungicides and how to make them.
- Ensure good drainage: It is difficult to improve drainage in large planting spaces, but if it is a small garden, you should spend some energy to ensure that your land has the best possible drainage. In addition, accumulations of water and flooding are not only an excellent breeding ground for these fungi, but are also detrimental to the vast majority of crops.
- Separate your crops well: If the weather forecast announces a rainy season with high temperatures, try to space your plantation frames from each other. Thus, if one of them is infected, you will at least make it difficult for the fungus to spread to the adjacent ones.
- Remove weeds: the elimination of adventitious plants, commonly called “weeds”, can also be very useful in the prevention of anthracnose. Since their fungi can be spread by all kinds of plants and grasses, even grass can be a surface to spread over. Keeping the soil free of adventitious plants will slow down the spread of the fungus, and therefore you will be able to locate and isolate the focus sooner.
- Remove damaged plants: Once you locate the infected focus, do not leave any remains. Pull out affected plants and dispose of their remains completely.
- Do not wet the leaves: if you can avoid it, try not to wet the aerial part of the plants. Leaves, stems and flowers are especially susceptible to fungal attack when they suffer from constant wet conditions. A direct irrigation system to the ground is more recommended.
- Avoid monoculture: this is a very beneficial measure against all types of pests, and not only against anthracnose. In addition, by using a variety of crops, you reinforce the beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which help keep fungi and harmful elements at bay.
- Disinfect pruning tools: this is another practice that is always recommended, but it is especially important in these cases. Disinfect with alcohol both before and after pruning.
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