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Simple ways to reduce the risk of disease in your garden

No garden is immune to disease. Even the most attentive, experienced gardeners have had to confront disease in their gardens, which can lead to significant damage and potentially kill plants.

Various bacterial, fungal and viral diseases can affect gardens. Fungicides, which are chemicals that destroy fungus, are only rarely recommended to combat disease.

A proactive approach, rooted in prevention, is often the most effective way to reduce the risk for disease in gardens.

Choose the right varieties of plants: Choosing disease-resistant varieties is an effective way to prevent disease in gardens. Gardeners who have confronted disease in their gardens, in the past, should do their best to identify which diseases were present and then choose plants which are considered resistant to those diseases. A local garden center professional can help gardeners who are uncertain about what to plant.

Plant in the right spots: The choice of where to plant is significant. Avoid wet areas with insufficient drainage. Wet soil can decrease plants’ chances for survival because of excess water and a lack of oxygen. If the only spots available for planting tend to be especially wet, consider planting in raised beds or having a French drain installed. Learn how much light plants need prior to planting them. Some can thrive in shady areas, while others require ample sunlight each day.

Plant at the right time: Planting too early, when the soil is not yet warm enough, can make plants vulnerable to disease, by weakening their ability to fight. Use a soil thermometer to determine soil temperature and only plant when the conditions for planting are ideal.

Harvest on time: When planting vegetables, it’s imperative the vegetables are harvested on time. Fully mature vegetables left on the plant attract disease and are vulnerable to insect infestations.

Control insect infestations: Certain insects can spread disease, so gardeners must learn to recognize which insects pose a threat to their plants. Speak with a local gardening center about invasive insects and how to address infestations without harming the plant. As the planting season approaches, gardeners can take various steps to make their plants and vegetables less vulnerable to disease.

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