Diseases of Plants: The Endless Battle with Nature


Updated: 4 Feb 2024

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Welcome plant lovers to your place of interest!

Do you know that plants also want to be treated like us? Yes, they also get sick but can’t book an appointment with a doctor.

Plants, like all living beings, are susceptible to various forms of infection.

There are thousands of diseases of plants that you might not know yet. In this article, we will learn to recognize the symptoms and handle the infection with utmost care.

 So, without any further ado, let’s begin!!

Plant Diseases are Shifty Enemies.E. C. Stakman.

What is a Plant Disease?

The disease is a state in which the normal functions of the plants are disturbed. Plant disease is the interplay of various elements:

  • Susceptible host
  • Virulent pathogen
  • Environmental conditions
Disease Triangle of Diseases of Plants

Factors

There are two types of factors through which any disease is caused. These factors are further explained under:

Abiotic Factors

Plant diseases that are caused by environmental conditions are called abiotic diseases. These factors include:

  1. Temperature
  2. Water
  3. Humidity
  4. Atmosphere
  5. Light
  6. Soil

Biotic Factors

Plant diseases that are caused by living organisms are called biotic diseases. These factors include pathogens like:

  1. Bacteria
  2. Fungi
  3. Nematodes
  4. Viruses
  5. Parasitic plants
  6. Mycoplasma

How to Identify Diseases in Plants?

The very first things that we will notice in infectious plants are symptoms and signs. But both are different from each other.

Difference between Symptoms and Signs:

SymptomSign
Any physical expression that results in abnormality of the plants.Visible proof of the disease that causes the abnormality in plants.
We can’t know the reason behind the symptoms. It may be due to any diseases or factors.We are sure about the reason why the plant is infected as it is detected by the clues or data found near it.
For example: the browning of leaves.For example: there might be some eggs near the browning of leaves which indicates that the disease is caused due to insects.

Causes

Some pathogens attack the host plant and cause the infection. Some of them are discussed below and a list of their disorders is covered along with them.

Diseases caused by Bacteria

Bacteria are organisms that are single-celled and are found approximately everywhere on Earth. There are millions of diseases that bacteria can cause to plants. Bacteria move with the help of flagella. Their mode of reproduction is binary fission.

Here is a list of the top 10 bacterial diseases in plants:

  • Citrus Canker
  • Bacterial wilt
  • Bacterial canker
  • Crown gall
  • Ring rot
  • Bacterial soft rot
  • Fire blight
  • Angular leaf spot
  • Bacterial blight
  • Bacterial leaf spot

Diseases caused by Fungi

Fungi may be single-celled or multicellular organisms. Fungi are found in large numbers. Fungi are made up of filaments i.e., hyphae. Multicellular fungi reproduce through spores.

The top 10 fungal diseases in plants are:

  • Damping-off
  • Rust
  • Leaf spot
  • Downy mildew
  • Powdery mildew
  • Anthracnose
  • Sooty mold
  • Botrytis blight
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Fusarium wilt

Diseases caused by Nematodes

Nematodes are organisms that have unsegmented bodies, triploblastic, pseudocoelomates and are bilaterally symmetrical. They hardly move one to two meters in a year. Their mode of reproduction can be parthenogenetic or amphimictic but can never be asexual. Furthermore, we will explore the classification and morphology of nematodes.

Following are some of the diseases caused by nematodes:

  • Lesions nematodes
  • Ring nematodes
  • Stubby-root nematodes
  • Reinform nematodes
  • Cyst nematodes
  • Root-lesion nematodes
  • Dagger nematodes
  • Root-knot nematodes
  • Sting nematodes
  • Spiral nematodes

Diseases caused by Viruses

Viruses are sub-microscopic organisms. They are filterable and are made up of DNA or RNA. They do not reproduce on their own but get inside the host body for the process of reproduction.

Infections caused by viruses are:

  • Tobacco mosaic virus
  • Plum pox virus
  • Potato virus Y
  • Tobacco ringspot virus
  • Tomato yellow leaf curl virus
  • Papaya ringspot virus
  • Barley yellow dwarf virus
  • Citrus tristeza virus
  • Cucumber mosaic virus
  • Tomato spotted wilt virus
  • Bean common mosaic virus

How to treat plant diseases?

There are countless disease control methods in plants. As many pathogens can cause infections, the measures taken also vary from pathogen to pathogen. However, some common effective practices that can be adopted to cure plant diseases are under

Self-learning

It is important to learn about anything for yourself. If you are not sure about the treatments, you should learn them first from the experts in the field and then study them yourself. In this way, you will be able to handle diseases efficiently.

Sanitation

This is very important to keep your field area clean by eliminating fallen leaves, diseased material, and debris. Any kind of contamination can cause infection to plants. We should remove the waste from the previously infected plant or burn it to prevent the infection of the new healthy plant. We should always sterilize the tools that are used in pruning, grafting, and budding. Removal of weeds regularly from the field.

Use of resistant varieties

In the modern era of today, there are a lot of varieties that are resistant to pathogens. Using such varieties can decrease the ratio of infection from the field. These varieties are made in such a way that they have the genetics that make them highly effective against pathogens.

Crop Rotation

Avoid sowing the same variety of crops every season. Crop rotation assists in removing the previous pathogen by changing the variety of crops. It makes the field disease-free for the next crop whose pathogen is not present in the field.

Proper Fertilizing

The use of excessive fertilizers can harm the plant and the field. We should only use fertilizers when needed. The proper amount of fertilizers makes the plant immune to the harmful pathogens. Fertilizers give them nutrients but it is compulsory to use the favorable amount for every plant at the right time.

Don’t Over-water

Watering should be done early in the day before 8 AM. Overwatering can damage the roots that grow in the waterlogged soil. The oxygen is hard to reach to the roots. It is because of the blockage of oxygen that root functions suffer later. Fungal pathogens are likely to attack such damaged or injured plants.

Daily Analysis

We should monitor our plant daily and check for the symptoms. It will help us control the disease at an early stage. If any symptom appears we should immediately take necessary actions.

Quarantine

It is better to isolate the plants before bringing them into our fields. It is recommended to monitor the signs and symptoms of the diseases of the plants to avoid any kind of infection in the field.

Always Use Healthy Seeds

Always purchase the seed from a trusted source. Diseased seeds can cause infection in the field and damage the other healthy ones. The use of healthy seeds reduces the fear of infection from the field.

Disease-free Field

The field must be free from disease. Soil fumigation can be done for the eradication purposes. All the required treatments must be done to secure our field from infection and losses.

11 Interesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about plants that you might not know:

  1. Plants dislike human noise.
  2. In medicine, 70,000 plant species are used.
  3. Trees are one of the longest-living organisms on earth.
  4. Sulfuric acid in onions is responsible for causing the tears while cutting.
  5. Just 30 plant species constitute 90% of the human diet.
  6. If you eat potatoes, apples, and onions with your nose closed, they have almost the same taste.
  7. Plants release the smell of freshly cut grass as a distress signal.
  8. The Oceans contain 85% of plant life!
  9. Plants might be deaf, but they can see, smell, feel, and remember.
  10. Plants compete less for valuable resources and give preferential treatments like root space to their siblings than when surrounded by unfamiliar plants.
  11. To identify plant diseases, we trust professionals known as plant pathologists, often referred to as the doctors of plants.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve delved into the realm of plant diseases, their causes, identification, and treatment. We’ve explored the interplay of factors, from environmental conditions to living organisms, that can impact plant health. And we’ve shared valuable tips on how to prevent and address these issues effectively.

Remember, the key to a thriving garden or crop lies in your hands. With practices like sanitation, crop rotation, proper fertilization, and daily monitoring, you can keep your plants healthy and disease-free. Plus, you’ve discovered some fascinating facts about these silent companions of ours.

This information will surely assist you in curing your infected plant.

If you are unable to cure your plant due to any issue, feel free to Contact Us. We will be happy to solve your problem.

Caring for your concern is our commitment.

FAQs about Diseases of Plants

Here are some frequently asked questions for you to learn more about the diseases of plants.

What is pathology?

The study of disease is called pathology. The person who deals with the diseases of plants is called a plant pathologist. He is also known as a phytopathologist. He can guide us in treating the diseases of plants in a better way.

What is a fungal disease?

The disease caused by the fungi is known as fungal disease. Some of them are listed below:

  • Rust
  • Leaf spot
  • Downy mildew
  • Powdery mildew
  • Anthracnose
  • Damping-off
What is a bacterial disease?

The disease that is caused by bacteria is called bacterial disease. Some of them are listed below:

  • Bacterial leaf spot
  • Citrus canker
  • Fire blight
  • Crown gall
  • Bacterial blight
Is the virus living?

Viruses are seen as both living and non-living depending upon the different characteristics they acquire.

They get energy from the host cell after entering the living cells of an organism and start reproducing. This characteristic makes them alive.

They can’t grow and reproduce on their own so they are considered non-living.


Dr. M Awais

Dr. M Awais

This is Awais. I am a phyto doctor. I have studied plants my whole life. Plants are my best friends. I have gathered detailed information about plants. My brilliant team is always ready to accept the challenges. Together, we find the solutions for our clients.

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