Gardening can be a fun and relaxing hobby but it is not without it's downsides. That downside comes in the form of pests and diseases that can ruin your plants if you are not careful. No garden is immune from disease and your best way to deal with it is to educate yourself as to the common pests and diseases in your area.
Bacteria, fungi and viruses can attack both flowering and non flowering plants. Fungi are able to survive in the soil, independent of the plants, while both bacteria and viruses require a plant host for their survival. Fungi are primitive organisms that reproduce through spores which are very hard to kill. Fungi make spores in huge quantities and they spread rapidly.
Some spores can affect a plant through the roots and others through the leaves. Fungi can lie dormant for years in the soil just waiting for the right conditions to activate it. A single infected plant can release up to 100 million spores, so it is important to completely eradicate any fungal infection. Bacteria, on the other hand, need both warmth and water to multiply and grow. Therefore, the majority of bacterial diseases are more of a problem in climates that are both warm and wet. Bacteria can be spread thorough splashing water such as rain or overhead watering.
Many times it enters plants through a natural opening like a flower, or through a wound or cut in a stem or leaf. Viruses can only reproduce from within the cells of the plant. They are smaller even than bacteria and can be transmitted by insects or carried by infected seeds or pollen. Like bacteria, viruses often enter plants through cuts or wounds in the stems, leaves or other parts of the plant. As with all other disease treatment, the first step to effectively treating a viral, bacterial or fungal infection in the garden is to diagnose it properly.
Every gardener should keep a book or guide on hand which shows the effects of common plant diseases. This guide will prove invaluable when trying to figure out what is bothering your plants. If you are still stumped for a diagnosis, be sure to seek the assistance of the staff at your local garden center, or the help of a more experienced gardener. If you need to treat your garden for any of these problems, you should first try natural non invasive methods. Try to avoid harsh chemicals and fungicides or same them for a last resort. While you may have to turn to using them, remember that they are not good for the environment so keep to using only the minimum amounts recommended.
Lee Dobbins writes for Backyard Garden and Patio where you can find more articles on gardening, garden ponds, garden decor and much more.