Garlic is a heavy feeder, which means that plants require hydroponic nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium. Knowing how to grow garlic efficiently will require you to keep an eye on your plants to make sure they are free of pests and diseases - and that new plants don’t contaminate existing ones.
Leek rust and onion white rot are two of the most common diseases that can affect garlic, and it’s vital to know the signs of infection in plants before they spread.
Common in leeks, this fungal disease can affect chives, onions, and garlic. Puccinia allii is a pathogen that rarely affects onions severely in the UK, but garlic plants require extra attention. These fungi are biotrophs, which means they live within plants’ living tissues and extract their nutrients without killing the plants.
As the disease is incapable of living in dead plant tissues, leek rust can be controlled between growing seasons. Leek rust attacks often begin around mid-spring until early-summer, with the rust spores from infected plants being released. Spore germination and release typically occurs when temperatures are at a range between 10ºC and 20ºC.
Between early-summer until late-autumn, the rust fungus germinates in infected plants and begins presenting symptoms as early as a week after germination. The following symptoms occur in plants:
When the disease is severe, leaves can become less vigorous and they eventually shrivel.
Leaves gain bright orange pustules on both sides, which with time break open and release dusty, orange airborne spores.
Onion white rot is a big threat to onion family plants, affecting all alliums like shallots, onions, leeks, and garlic. This serious fungal disease, Stromatinia cepivora, can remain in the soil for many years. The sclerotia, round and black structures of approximately 0.5mm of diameter, stays dormant until an allium is planted.
Sclerotia has the ability to detect some of alliums’ unique volatile chemicals, proceeding to germinate and produce the fungal growth that directly attacks the roots.The soil is re-contaminated when more sclerotia is formed on the rotting bulbs.
Should the white rot have a low incidence in the garden, the infected plants are usually easily culled and destroyed. A widespread infection, however, requires you to completely restart your crop in a different location.
In the UK, temperatures above 20ºC don’t allow for fungal growth or sclerotia germination of onion white rot. Wet and cool summers are problematic, with symptoms typically appear around mid-season to harvest. You may notice the following:
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to onion white rot and, as such, it’s vital to make sure that all equipment used is properly disinfected. A quarantine area for new plants allows for you to see if the garlic plants are infected before planting them and potentially infecting your soil. If you’re wondering how to plant garlic effectively, growing from seeds can be a great way to prevent this disease.
Our recommendation: Oldtimer Granules provide garlic plants with improved stress tolerance and helps to form a protection barrier against root diseases.
Making sure that plants have all of their needed nutrients as they grow provides them with the best chances at being healthy and disease-free. Contact us to know more about our range of products and how they can help plants.
Whether you are an expert who already has a thriving crop of healthy plants, or you are trying to grow your very first hydroponic yield, we can help you to grow the strong and healthy crops you have always wanted.
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