Pests and Diseases

Plant Diseases: How To Cure Botrytis Blight (Gray Mold)

The fungus that causes Botrytis blight is commonly called the gray mold fungus. Gray mold attacks a wide variety of plants and likely causes more plant death and losses than any other single disease-causing agent. Botrytis blight can cause disease on nearly any plant grown in the home landscape, garden, and greenhouse. 

It is one of the most common diseases of geranium and a wide variety of ornamental plants, vegetables, and fruit. The fungus causes brown rotting and blighting of affected tissues.

How To Cure Botrytis Blight (Gray Mold)

Use Caution While Pruning: Tender tissues (seedlings and petals) and weakened tissues (stubs left after taking cuttings and pruning) are attacked by the fungus since the fungus needs an open wound to invade the plant.

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When pruning plants, a stub no longer than ½ inch should be left because more extended stubs do not form callus as quickly as short stubs. The callus formation limits the fungus invasion into the cut stub. 

Identifying Botrytis blight (Gray Mold):

Gray mold can be identified by developing fuzzy grayish spore masses over the surfaces of rotted tissues. It is not unusual to observe these grayish spore masses on the rotting flowers of outdoor-grown geraniums within 24 hours after it rains.

The environmental conditions which favor Botrytis blight include cool temperatures (65-70 F) and wet, humid weather. The gray mold spores will germinate and invade the fruit on ripe strawberry fruit within 3 to 5 hours during ideal temperature and moisture conditions.

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Preventing Botrytis blight:

Sanitation procedures are very important in controlling Botrytis blight. It is essential to remove and destroy dead plant parts – leaves, stems, and flowers since the gray mold survives on these issues and will provide spores to invade healthy plants.

Chemicals, such as GreenCure will provide preventative control of this disease and should be used at 1 to 2 tablespoons per gallon of water, especially after rains and cool temperatures. Obviously, with vegetables, prevention is much wiser than trying to eradicate mold once it has taken hold.

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