A Cool, Damp Spring
At Maymont we are enjoying this cool damp spring weather as we tend the gardens and grounds. However, this is also weather that many diseases revel in as well. The old saying “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure” is true and in the garden it is always a motto to follow. Take time to clean up debris around the base of each plant. Improve air circulation by selectively pruning a stem or two to improve air flow through the plant and around the plants. Look before you prune to insure you do not disfigure the growth habit of the plant before making your selected cuts. With the lush growth our gardens look like jungles, pulling weeds is an easy chore and one I encourage you to keep up with.
Despite these measures sometimes diseases do invade our gardens and it is imperative to keep a watchful eye for their signs. Rust, Anthracnose and Alternaria are diseases that thrive in these cool damp conditions. Rust is commonly found on the undersides of leaves, particularly on hollyhock. The yellowish-brown bumps are easy to spy, particularly whenthey turn an orange to red color.
Anthracnose appears on tomatoes, peppers, ivy and daylilies as a circular sunken spot with raised edges. This is the disease that is affecting the sycamores throughout our community.
Alternaria affects the vining vegetable crops in our gardens. First, it appears as a black mold along the stem or on the leaf, another sign is oval spots with concentric rings that grow together to brown blotches and cankers on the stems.
As I mentioned earlier prevention is the best practice, but, if a problem arises the first step is to have the problem verified by a professional so proper steps can be taken to properly control the disease.