Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It’s Not Too Late To Prevent Summer Diseases!

The warmth and humidity that comes with summer creates the perfect conditions for plant diseases to thrive. Poor soil fertility, unbalanced environmental conditions and pest infestations are all channels that invite fungi, viruses and bacteria to weaken or kill plants. You can get ahead of these problems by actively choosing preventative solutions, even at the height of summer. Some of these biorational solutions actually work best when used pro-actively to suppress diseases. Now is a great time to treat before a problem becomes a crisis! 

Biorational solutions (those utilizing beneficial or symbiotic fungi and bacteria) are an economical and highly effective option against a wide range of foliar and soil diseases. You will get the best possible results before the onset of symptoms, but if symptoms are already present, simply begin treatment as soon as possible. 

We offer many choices in biorationals here at ARBICO Organics, including:

  • Trichoderma harzianum, strain T-22. This patented fungus utilizes several methods to suppress fungal diseases. Principally, it forms a physical bond with the root system of the plants to establish itself in the root zone and thereby prevent other pathogens from colonizing the soil. The RootShield® line of products has this fungus as its active ingredient. They are all OMRI Listed and come in a variety of formulations and sizes to best suit your personal needs.

  • Bacillus subtilis. This fungus works with an arsenal of deadly tools to attack plant pathogens. Its spores occupy space on the plant surface and compete with the pathogens; then active compounds called lipopeptides produced by each bacterium disrupt the germination and growth of invading pathogens. Bacillus subtilis is also reported to induce SAR (systemic acquired resistance) against bacterial pathogens, whereby the plant's defenses are triggered prior to pest incursion. In addition, Bacillus subtilis hinders spore germination in plant pathogens and prevents them from attaching to the plant. Some of our most popular, and OMRI Listed, Bacillus subtilis products are:

  • Bacillus amyloliquefaciensstrain D747. This naturally occurring beneficial bacterium triggers a plants immune response, to defend against damaging fungi and bacteria. Secondarily, it colonizes the rhizosphere, reducing the opportunity for pathogenic cells to establish there. Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain D747 products are an affordable choice to treat small areas, but are also effective in larger applications. We suggest you consider:

  • Streptomyces spp. This is another naturally occurring beneficial bacterium, but it works slightly differently than Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain D747. It creates a symbiotic relationship with the plant by feeding off the plant byproducts and, in doing so, establishes itself in the same ecological space as pathogens. In this way, it can literally push out the pathogen and then out-compete it for resources. We have this solution available in the following products:

  • Ulocladium oudemansii U3 Strain. This bacterium works in the same way as Streptomyces lydicus WYEC 108.  It is very aggressive in out-competing pathogens and is extremely effective for targeted treatment of Botrytis and other Blight and Rot diseases in large areas. We offer this bacterium in:

Copper has been used as a plant fungicide in both organic and traditional production for quite some time now. It is half of the long-standing, popular Bordeaux Mix (copper sulfate and slaked lime). This type of fungicide works because the copper ions denature proteins in the pathogens, which destroys enzymes that are essential for normal cell functions. Copper also acts as a good barrier to phytotoxicity, as it relatively insoluble and will persist on leaves. This persistence also works to keep the product active; with each new watering the copper ions are re-released to go to work. In order for these products to achieve their full potential, it is essential to fully cover all surfaces of leaves and foliage. Copper fungicides are available as Liquid Copper Fungicides and as Copper Fungicide Dust. Both versions are highly effective; the choice is truly a matter of personal preference: some people like to spray and some like to dust. Here are some great picks:

Horticultural Oils and Neem Oils perform double duty as insecticides and fungicides. Not only do they  help control the pests that vector diseases, they can trap fungal spores to keep them from spreading disease.  When applied regularly, they can be used to prevent or treat diseases such as powdery mildew, black spot and more. The following organic oils are some of our most popular disease control products:

Controlling plant diseases should not be an intimidating or confusing business. It should, instead, be just another part of a common sense approach to growing that promotes healthy soil and proactive plant care.

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