Fungus is a simple plant that has no chlorophyll so it does not have the ability to create its own food like other plants. Fungi must depend on their other organisms to provide food for them. Fungicides are compounds used to eliminate harmful fungus growth from plants, which can be a problem in a garden. The words "fungicide" and "mildewcide" are both used though no difference exists between the two words when used in horticultural context.
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Types of Fungus
Fungus can serve a good purpose or a bad purpose on plants. Some fungi, such as mycorrhizae, grow on the roots of plants and help them to absorb nutrients, according to the University of California Berkeley. Other types of fungi have a detrimental effect on plants. Stem rot, smut, rust and powdery mildew are just a few of the common fungus diseases that can disfigure foliage, prevent flowering or fruiting and even cause death of the plant.
About Fungicides & Mildewcides
Fungicides, also called mildewcides, are chemicals used to inhibit the growth of fungus to maintain the health of plants. The effectiveness of a fungicide requires several considerations, such as the type of fungus being fought, the timing of the application and the correct use of the fungicide on the plant. Sulphur, triforine and triadimefon are three commonly used fungicides. All three are effective against powdery mildew, a fungus that produces a white powdery growth on plants. To select the most effective compound, try to identify the type of plant fungus. Remove affected areas and treat the rest of the plant to fight further infection.
The best time to apply fungicides to plants is before the fungus invades plant tissues. Additional applications reinforce the barrier that keeps the fungus from growing on the plant, according to Ohio State University plant pathology writers Stephen Nameth and Jim Chatfield. Fungicide products contain additional ingredients that help the compound to stick to the surfaces of stems, leaves and flowers. These adjuvants allow gardeners to thoroughly cover all parts of a plant for maximum protection. Carefully cover all surfaces of the plant with an even coat of the fungicide compound. Give special attention to the undersides of leaves, particularly on the lower area of the plant.
Excessive rainfall or rapid growth of the plant can weaken the protective effect of the fungicide. As new leaves appear, they are not protected by the previous application of the fungicide and risk infection. Sunlight can also degrade the fungicide compound. Gardeners may need to apply the compound more frequently than the standard seven to 14 days intervals, depending on environmental conditions.
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