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Dallas Morning News - June 17, 2021


Natural Disease Control That Works

 

I got a question recently about why I don't recommend copper disease control products. Well – it's the same reason I don't recommend much of anything used one element at a time. It's far too easy to use too much and cause a toxic effect thus a bigger problem than the one you are trying to fix. Non-toxic and non-killing organic disease controls like garlic work better anyway without causing new issues.

 

I got a question recently about why I don't recommend copper disease control products. Well – it's the same reason I don't recommend much of anything used one element at a time. It's far too easy to use too much and cause a toxic effect thus a bigger problem than the one you are trying to fix. Non-toxic and non-killing organic disease controls like garlic work better anyway without causing new issues.

 

Key to disease control is balance. Balance results from a healthy population of microorganisms. Diseases are simply an imbalance of microorganisms in the soil and in and on plants. Organic gardeners have relatively few disease problems to begin with because the organic soil building techniques and products help keep the life in the soil in healthy populations.

 

When microbes are out of balance, pathogens grow and create problems. When the microbes are in their proper proportions, pathogens such as Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Fusarium – even bacteria and viruses function in a positive way. That's why the toxic chemical disease control products like Bayleton and Daconil don't work very well – especially long term. They indiscriminately kill the good guys as well as the bad, throwing things further out of balance. After killing the beneficial fungi, bacteria and other beneficial microbes as well as the targeted diseases, pathogens can grow back faster than the beneficials.

 


Some whole ground cornmeal products contain garlic and are labeled as natural fungicides

 

Recent rains have created conditions that favor disease growth. Fungal diseases are the most common. They include powdery mildew, early blight, brown patch, black spot, grey leaf spot, etc. These diseases can be controlled with several different organic sprays such as milk at 1 cup per gallon of water, hydrogen peroxide at a 1-2% solution with water and baking soda or potassium bicarbonate at a rounded tablespoon per gallon of water.

 

Bacterial diseases such as fireblight can be successfully treated with hydrogen peroxide or commercial products containing hydrogen peroxide. Viral diseases such as mosaic virus and curly top can be managed with the hydrogen peroxide products. Hard to control diseases like oak wilt and rose rosette need the entire Sick Tree Treatment applied with hydrogen peroxide as part of the procedure.

 


Garlic is available in concentrates and ready-to-use products. Liquid spray mixtures can also be made from my formula on dirt doctor.com

 

Several turf and other diseases can be overcome with whole ground cornmeal applied dry or liquid after soaking in water. Garlic, available in liquid commercial products, might be the best of the organic disease controls. It has the curious ability to repress pathogens while stimulating and helping beneficial microbes.

 

Besides heavy rain being a problem leading to disease issues, so is the use of high-nitrogen synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemical pesticides. So – stop doing that and go organic. High quality compost or earthworm castings alone will cure many plant diseases. Whole ground cornmeal will do it even more efficiently. They both work by stimulating a beneficial fungus called trichoderma that overpowers the pathogens to bring the soil back into balance.

 

 

 

 

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