It is now the time of year when homeowners engaging in lawn care may start to notice brown spots appearing on the leaves of some of their trees and plants. What causes these spots? It might be leaf spot disease, a widespread plant fungal infection. It’s so common that it is rare for a homeowner to make it through a season without encountering this disease at least once.
What is Leaf Spot Disease?
Bacteria or fungus causes leaf spot disease, which mostly affects stone fruit, tomato, and pepper plants. But any plant in your garden is susceptible to infection. You know you have leaf spot disease if your plants have black or brown water-soaked spots. These spots are usually the same size, sometimes surrounded by a yellow halo.
The infection occurs in early spring when moisture levels are high and can cause partial or complete defoliation of the affected plant. Young or newly planted trees are more at risk of suffering damage than established trees, especially if it is the first year of infection. Most plants will survive getting leaf spot disease, so if you have an infected plant in your garden, you can minimize the damage with home remedies.
The organisms that cause leaf spot disease survive in twigs and leaves that were previously infected and are either still attached to the plant or have fallen to the ground. Raking and pruning will help remove the fungus or bacteria, causing the disease while also reducing moisture by giving your plants better access to light and wind. Watering the roots of a plant early in the morning, so the leaves do not get as wet, and the plant has time to dry out will also help. It is also essential to ensure your plant is as healthy as it can be to minimize the damage caused by the disease.
All of these prevention methods may still leave you with spotted plants. Even if you remove all of the infected twigs and leaves, the wind could end up blowing the fungi or bacteria back to your plant again. Thus, some gardeners choose to live with the disease or replace the infected plant with one that is more resistant or tolerant.
When Natural Methods No Longer Work
While an established plant can generally weather one season of leaf spot disease, if the condition reoccurs for 2-4 years, the infected plants are less likely to survive. If you have a tree that suffered from leaf spot disease last year, getting a professional in to look at it as soon as possible could save the plant.
We Can Help!
At AllGreen Lawn and Tree Care, we can help you determine whether or not the disease your plants are suffering from is leaf spot disease. We can also provide you with a plan of action for treatment. We love helping people in Massachusetts with their lawn care needs! Visit us online or call AllGreen at (617) 327-5555 with your tick and mosquito concerns!