Privet (Ligustrum spp.) is a native of Europe, Asia and North Africa and comes in nearly 50 different varieties. Privet is popularly used for hedges because of the plant's high tolerance for harsh growing conditions, including air pollution. A fungal disease causes privet foliage to curl.
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Anthracnose is a fungal disease of privet also referred to as leaf, shoot or twig blight. The disease is caused by different fungi, including the Glomerella species and the Gnomonia species. Anthracnose is more prevalent during periods of extended spring rains that promote the spread of fungal spores.
Anthracnose infects new shoots and foliage. Initial symptoms include black, brown or tar-like lesions on foliage. Infected new foliage starts to curl and gets distorted. Only a portion of the distorted leaves dies at the start of infection. Older leaves are usually more resistant to the fungus but are likely to get infected under favourable fungal growth conditions.
Improve air circulation between plants and avoid the use of overhead irrigation. Grow plants in areas of sun. Keep plants clear of fallen foliage and debris to minimise spread of infection. Chemical control options include the use of chlorothalonil, copper-based fungicides and thiophanate-methyl.
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