Beware: Fungal Foliar Diseases Alive and Well in Alabama

Clint Thompson Alabama, Disease, Strawberry, Top Posts, Vegetables

Figure 1. Anthracnose fruit rot of strawberry © Catherine Eckert / shutterstock.com

Weather conditions are conducive to certain plant diseases being a problem this year. Joe Kemble, Alabama Extension vegetable specialist, cautions Alabama producers about certain fungal diseases that could become problematic.

“One of the things that’s important this time of the year is there are a lot of foliar fungal diseases. They cause problems in strawberries, but they also cause problems in vegetable crops,” Kemble said. “I’ve seen quite a bit of scattered anthracnose around the state. It’s a common fungal disease. It also goes to strawberries, different species of the disease. Basically, if the weather conditions are favorable for one, they’re favorable for all the different versions of that disease.”

While diagnosing the disease is not an issue, managing it can be a problem if you’re an organic producer. They don’t have the same options to control diseases as a conventional grower would.

“If you’re a conventional grower, there’s herbicides that work quite well to manage these. But if you’re growing organically, you’ve got a bit of a mixed bag in terms of what you need to do. There aren’t any products out there that are curative. It’s really a preventative measure,” Kemble said. “If I’m an organic grower, this time of the year, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re going to have these diseases. It’s a good idea to put on any type of protectant sprays that you’d like to use. If the spray’s not there, you’re not going to get any type of control. It’s very hard after the fact once you see the disease.”