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Leaf blight refers to any disease afflicting plants in which portions of the leaves become discolored, dried out, or dead. While leaf blight is most often fungal in nature, bacterial blight also exists. Leaf blight can affect nearly any plant with leaves.
Fungal plant diseases can cause a variety of symptoms, of which blight is only one. Blight is characterized by plant tissues that are dry or dead, but not rotten. Blight can strike different areas of the plant. In addition to leaf blight, fungal infection can cause stem blight and blossom blight, for example.
Bacterial leaf blight can affect beans, rice, cotton, tomato, pepper, soybean, and cassava. Different bacterial strains affect different plants. Bacterial blight on leaves is characterized by waterlogged spots on the plant's leaves that eventually turn brown or black, followed by the leaves falling off prematurely. In rice, the spots on the affected leaves turn white rather than black in their final stages.
Leaf blight, whether fungal or bacterial in nature, can be prevented by proper care of crops. Crops that are too crowded, or planted in soil that lacks nutrients, or is not regularly sanitized are susceptible to blight. To prevent blight, first select plant cultivars that are resistant to fungal and bacterial infection. Plant the seeds according to the guidelines for the plant to ensure that each plant receives adequate air flow and light. Prune foliage if it becomes overcrowded.
Make sure the soil you plant in is well-balanced nutritionally, and maintain it properly. Practice regular fertilization and sanitation, and make sure the soil has adequate drainage, as overly moist soil can lead to bacterial infection of the plants. Also, practice crop rotation, alternating non-related crops each season.
One of the most frequent causes of blight is contamination from other plants. Take care not to plant infected seeds or plants. If you find plants with blight, remove them and dispose of them properly. Also, practice weed control and insect control. Insects can be carriers of bacterial infection.
To keep your plants healthy and free of blight, there are a number of preventative solutions you can spray on your plants that are both natural and inexpensive. Lemongrass and mint extract help prevent both fungal and bacterial infection. Fungal blight on leaves can also be prevented with applications of aloe, animal urine, baking soda, basil, compost tea, copper, coriander, garlic, ginger, horsetail, horticultural oil, malabar nut, milk, neem, onion, papaya, pongam, soap, sulfur, or turmeric.
I have found that a good way to prevent leaf blight is to use a solution that has some acidity during the peak of growing season.
When my plants are about knee high, I use a spray bottle to spritz the leaves with a mixture of water and white vinegar. Not only does this solution help prevent bacteria and fungus that could lead to leaf blight, but it also keeps a variety of pests off the plants. Some animals, such as deer and rabbits, also usually avoid plants that have been sprayed with vinegar and water.
When deciding on a spot to plant your garden, you should pay close attention to the drainage on your land. Areas that tend to have pooled water are not good for planting, because all kinds of problems can occur in this type of soil. Bacteria and fungus caused my extremely moist soil are sources of leaf blight.
The best section of land for a garden is slightly elevated with some trees that are close by but not blocking the sun. You will have good drainage for your plants which in turn will be less likely to develop leaf blight in areas of land with these features.
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