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How to Prevent Rust Disease on Plants

Written by Mindy on January 3rd, 2015

Many different types of plants can suffer from rust but what is rust.  Rust is a plant disease that is made up of several different fungi.  This fungus can attack a vast number of different plants that range from flowers such as roses and snapdragons, vegetables, and even trees.

The first line of defense is to prevent rust from appearing in the garden.  How do you do that?  Well, start with the suggestions below.

  1. If possible, choose plant cultivators that are resistant to the fungi that cause the plant disease rust.
  2. When choosing your plant material, make sure to select healthy plants.  If buds look damaged, leaves have holes in them or the plant just looks unhealthy, do not buy.  While you may be able to save the plant, you really do not know what you will be introducing into your garden space.
  3. Once you have your plant material selected, do not rush the planting process.  You will need to make sure that the hole is the correct size for the plant, which means the same depth as the container and two to three times the width.  You will also need to make sure that the plant material is spaced properly.  This latter step is very important and is one that many gardeners ignore.  The correct spacing between plants will allow air to circulate properly around plant material.  This, in turn, will reduce the amount of moisture around the plants.
  4. Whether you choose to plant resistant plant material or not, you will need to learn how to properly water the plant material.  Rust thrives in moist conditions.  To reduce the chances of developing rust, only water in the morning.  This gives the plant material time to dry.  Also, when possible, do not water overhead.  Using this approach wastes water and causes plant damage.  A better approach is to use a soaker hose.  This is puts the water where it can really be used by the plant and not on the leaves.

rush.diseaseWhile the plant disease called rust is normally not fatal, it does create an unsightly appearance on plant material and fruit.  If you find you have rust, do not fret.  The tips below will help you reduce the effects of this plant disease.

  1. Remove plant material that is showing rust damage.  The sooner the better but do not remove so many that the plant cannot go through photosynthesis.
  2. In between each cut, make sure to sterilize your garden tools.  This is easily done by wiping down the cutting surface and handle with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Rake up leaves and plant debris at the end of the season.  If rust was present in the garden, do not compost the garden debris.  Instead, throw the plant waste in the trash.

Only as a last resort should you apply a pesticide for this problem.  The best organic choice is Neem oil.  When using this approach on edible plant material, make sure to read the directions so that you know when it is safe to harvest your edibles.


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