Grey mold is a frequent and widespread disease. Botrytis is a fungal infection that infects a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants, infecting stems, leaves, and/or flowers, especially during damp, chilly, to mild temperatures. Let’s get to know about grey mold on plants and how to manage the disease.
What Is Gray Mold?
One of the most prevalent diseases seen in bedding plants is gray mold, a fungus also known as Botrytis cinerea, which can damage any portion of a plant. Plants already damaged or nearing death will be easily infected by this disease. After that, it quickly spreads and can potentially seriously harm plant portions that are still healthy. One of the primary sources of gray mold is moisture. With increasing water exposure, your plants become more susceptible to infection. Your plants must experience damage first before they may get infected. Be cautious around your plants to prevent this.
Symptoms Of Gray Mold On Indoor Plants
- Depending on the plant’s species and the environment, gray mold symptoms might vary, but typically spots that look wet occur on the leaves. These could initially seem white.
- Eventually, the majority of the area will be covered, causing the leaf to wilt. At this point, the spot will have turned from gray to brown. People frequently mistake gray mold for brown mold because of its brown coloring.
- Grayish webbing may develop on the leaves in extremely humid conditions. Structures with fuzzy spores (conidiophores) can be found within this webbing. Spores become active and are discharged whenever there is any action.
- The infection can spread to the buds, stems, and petals.
- You will eventually appear to have gray flowers since the plant’s affected areas will ultimately be covered entirely with a fuzzy gray growth.
- Botrytis infection destroys branches on bush and cane fruit, especially gooseberries, even though the fuzzy gray mold is rarely visible. A soft brown deterioration caused by a botrytis infection appears on strawberries, grapes, and occasionally other fruits, usually as they are beginning to ripen.
- Many plants lose their above-ground portions, especially their buds and blooms, which shrivel and die.
Gray Mold Disease Cycle
Botrytis spp. can survive the winter in plant debris or soil as sclerotia or hyphae (filamentous, vegetative growth propagules) in temperatures as low as 39 F. If the conditions are right, these asexual fungal propagules can grow into other spores that can be dispersed. Flowers, fruits, wounds, and other weak or damaged tissues are all sources of spores. In times of high wetness and humidity, disease development is more common because spores require free moisture for germination and infection. More spores may emerge as the disease progresses, acting as an inoculum source for subsequent infection during a single growing season.
Plants Commonly Affected
Gray mold damages a wide variety of annual and perennial plants. A few herbaceous annuals that are susceptible to Botrytis include ageratum, celosia, gladiola, carnation, begonia, gerbera, chicory, geranium, impatiens, snapdragon, marigold, pansy, nasturtium, petunia, sunflower, statice, stock, sweet pea, verbena, and zinnia.
The herbaceous perennials anemone, aster, baby’s breath, bellflower, bleeding heart, bloodroot, bluebell, buttercup, calendula, candytuft, carnation, chrysanthemum, chicory, coralberry, cranesbill, dandelion, daylily, delphinium, Dutchman’s pipe, foxglove, globe amaranth, hyacinth, iris, lily-of-the-valley, lupine, peony, phlox, pinks, plantain lily, poppy, rose, tulip, and violet.
Artichoke, asparagus, bean, beet, blackberry, black-eyed pea, blueberry, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumber, currant, eggplant, endive, gooseberry, grape, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lentil, lettuce, okra, onion, parsnip, pea, peanut, pepper, squashes, strawberry, sunflower, and sweet potato are some vegetables and small fruit plants that are susceptible to gray mold.
Alder, apple, apricot, ash, azalea, barberry, cherry, blooming almond, honeysuckle, hydrangea, larch, lilac, magnolia, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, rhododendron, tree-of-Heaven, and viburnum are some trees and shrubs that are susceptible.
Gray mold is also a common problem with many fruits, vegetables, and berries, especially after harvest and storage in cold environments. Plums, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes are also frequently affected.
Gray Mold On Plants Treatment & Management
Any technique that will reduce humidity, dry out the leaves, or improve air circulation will assist in reducing the risk of infection.
- Reduce how much water vapor is there in the air. Humidity requirements vary depending on the plant. The greatest place to cultivate indoor plants that require high humidity is a steamy bathroom, where they can be misted frequently or have the pot set in a saucer of wet stones. In a greenhouse, misting, overhead watering, or dampening (wetting) the floor can increase humidity when it’s hot outside. Open vents to increase ventilation if there is a chance that a high humidity level would result in fungal issues. Improve ventilation and avoid overcrowding plants to reduce humidity.
- Watering your plants should be done in the morning to provide leaf surfaces enough time to dry quickly.
- Plants should be separated from one another to allow air to flow between them and help minimize dampness.
- However, in most households, removing affected plant portions and changing the atmosphere to be drier should help manage this disease.
- To enhance air circulation between plants, prune or stake plants. After each cut, make careful you use a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water to clean your pruning equipment.
- Use a small clip-on fan to optimize airflow when growing indoors.
- Remove any fallen debris and maintain a clean surface under plants.
- Spread some organic mulch or compost under the plants. Mulches will stop the fungus spores from splashing back onto the flowers and leaves.
- To give plants time to dry out during the day, water in the early morning or use a soaker hose.
- Do not compost infected plant leaves or stems, and thoroughly clean up garden areas in the fall to decrease overwintering locations for fungus spores.
- Plants will benefit from the protection provided by copper-soap fungicides against disease spores. Apply at the beginning of flowering and then every 7–10 days till harvest. Sprays that kill fungi are especially necessary when the weather predicts a prolonged period of cool, rainy weather.
- Registered fungicides are still an option. Use SERENADE Garden to treat Botrytis blight and the majority of other fungi infections without risk.
- This broad-spectrum bio-fungicide makes use of a patented Bacillus subtilis strain that is authorized for organic usage. The best part is that SERENADE is absolutely non-toxic to harmful honey bee insects.
- Mycostop, a biological fungicide permitted for organic usage, has demonstrated disease control. Spray susceptible foliage, flowers, and fruits directly at the point of runoff (5 gm/50 liters of water). Apply as needed, or as often as necessary, depending on the disease pressure, every two to three weeks.
- Green Cure a fungicide with a unique formula of potassium bicarbonate, which is frequently found in food goods, is the main ingredient in the fungicide, which also offers residual protection for up to two weeks while killing numerous plant diseases on contact. Apply 1-2 tbsp per gallon of water to all exposed plant surfaces as soon as a disease is detected. Repeat for maximum protection at intervals of 1-2 weeks until the development of a disease is no longer possible.