White mold, also known as Sclerotinia, is a fungal disease that affects over 360 plant species in gardens, including legumes, peas, lettuce, and members of the cabbage family. This fungal infection manifests as water-soaked spots on flowers, stems, leaves, and pods, often causing wilting, yellowing, and death of affected plant parts. While plants are most vulnerable during flowering, young seedlings are also at risk. White mold typically strikes in spring or early summer, often going unnoticed for some time.

Spread by spores in cool weather, white mold can infect nearby plants via wind, making early detection and swift eradication crucial in preventing its spread. Identifying signs of white mold damage varies depending on environmental factors and plant type, but common symptoms include water-soaked areas on stems, wilting, and the formation of dense cottony growth on infected areas.

Controlling White Mold:

1. Immediate Removal: Once diseased plants are spotted, promptly remove and destroy them.

2. Soil Management: If soil is infected, remove as much as possible and replace with clean soil.

3. Barrier Methods: Cover infected ground with barriers like plastic or mulch to prevent disease spread.

4. Preventative Measures:

● Ensure well-draining soil and proper plant spacing to avoid crowding.
● Water plants at the base, avoiding foliage, and water early in the day to allow for drying before nightfall.
● Apply approved fungicides before plant emergence and reapply after a week for added protection.
● Keep weed growth in check, as weeds can harbor and spread the disease.
● Clear crop debris post-harvest to prevent disease overwintering.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage and prevent white mold outbreaks in your garden, safeguarding your plants and ensuring a healthy growing season. Remember, vigilance and proactive measures are key to combating this persistent fungal disease.

April 09, 2024

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