Rain: Blessing or curse?

By Gregg Eyestone

The growing season started out on the dry side, so I decided to upgrade a garden hose - just in case.

But that hose still has its curl. It has mostly sat on the sidelines waiting to be used.

Diseases, on the other hand, haven’t been lying in wait. Some are already active.

Diseases are weather dependent. Moisture is the main requirement diseases get going. Available moisture combined with the right temperature and diseases are happy.

If we could control rain and temperatures, then there would be much less disease pressure.

Fireblight has been active this year. We have had some here but it has been more severe east and south of Riley County. The ends of pear and other trees appear burnt like a torch was taken to them. Pruning to remove the damaged branches should be made eight to 10 inches below the dead branch.

Many of the old-fashioned lilac bushes get powdery mildew in late summer. Mine has it now in early summer. Late summer isn’t a big deal since the plant has had time to build up its food supply. Some hot and dry days will fix the situation.

The biggest issue that I have had is with root rots. This has been on annual flowers planted around the courthouse. It is too late for many. The cure is dry weather.

Brown patch has made its annual appearance in my tall fescue lawn. The grass will grow out of it. Fungicides can be used, but I choose not too.

Black spot on hybrid tea roses is active. I have been treating them but nothing is perfect. It is time for me to put on my second application, which lasts six weeks. Usually, it is hot and dry at this time in the growing season and I can get by without this application.

Tomato leaf blights will be starting as the tomato plant is maturing fruit. My tomatoes have grown together which is not good for air circulation to reduce leaf blight. Spraying with a fungicide is challenging too with all the foliage.

Good luck with your disease management. Read and follow product information when using a pesticide. I think I’m going to ride the storm out on most of my diseases.

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