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What’s Eating Your Hydroponics Plants, Part 2: Molds, Fungi, & Other Attackers

Use natural methods to fight hydroponics plant attackers Use natural methods to fight hydroponics plant attackers

In part one of our discussion about diseases, viruses and other pathogens that attack your hydroponics plants, we talked about monitoring your leaves and your plants’ vigor for early detection of problems. We also pointed out that we often assume that leaf or vigor problems are caused by issues related only to plant absorption of hydroponics nutrients, lack of light, pH problems and similar causes. All of those possible causes should be explored, but at the same time you want to investigate fungi, molds, bacteria, diseases and other pathogenic conditions that attack hydroponics roots and leaves.

For example, gray mold attacks leaves and flowers, especially in high-humidity situations, or where you have dense buds, poor air circulation, and/or air temperatures lower than 68F. You see dark, often gooey patches of rot that can spread quickly on plants and from plant to plant, but gray mold appears in slightly different forms that do not resemble the typical gooey, ugly patches.

As a preventive against gray mold and many other pathogens, and as an attempt to stop it if it has started, use one of the most tested and proven biofungicides ever created. It’s called Serenade, and even though it smells strange, it is an extremely effective organic, non-toxic way to deal with gray mold (which is actually a fungus), leaf rust, leaf spot, powdery mildew and similar problems.

I use Serenade as a root drench and foliar spray. This means I use Serenade to drench clones, seedlings, and grow phase plants, as a stand-alone root zone watering formula, and as a periodic (every two weeks) foliar spray from beginning of grow phase until just a couple of weeks before harvest.

This multi-faceted approach (and the fact that Serenade contains a variety of active agents that work in different ways to kill attackers) fights pathogens in the root zone and on leaves, and can act as a topical and systemic barrier to such pathogens.

One cool thing about Serenade is it has been shown to limit “storage mold.” Perhaps you’re aware that even if you properly dry and cure your flowers, pathogens can still attack them. Pathogens can lay dormant even in flowers stored in the freezer, only to come to life when you thaw your stored crop material!

Growers who cure their crops slowly, using techniques and long time periods borrowed from tobacco farmers, are especially at risk of seeing pathogens attack their curing buds. Serenade application within a few weeks of harvest helps defeat that loss.

Serenade is one of few hydroponics pathogen control organic products that has been professionally studied and found to provide useful assistance in your battles against pathogens. For example, research at Mississippi State University that competed Serenade against other fungicides showed Serenade was a top performer…and that several other fungicides worked poorly, if at all.

Also, in previous articles we talked about using beneficial microbes products, and about using H202 (hydrogen peroxide). Unfortunately, you can’t use these together because H202 kills beneficial microbes.

If you establish beneficial bacteria and fungi in your root zone, you are unlikely to get root zone problems. The problems you might get even if you use beneficial root zone bacteria occur if your root zone is too warm (over 68F), if it lacks oxygenation, or if you overwater.

I also recommend using beneficial microbes as a foliar spray to inoculate your leaves against pathogens. Further, you should strengthen your plants using Vitamin B, potassium silicate and immune system boosters so they can resist viruses and other attackers.

There are times when something attacks your hydroponics crops and no matter what you do, you lose. But I’ve seen many miracle saves using the techniques and materials discussed above, in all types of hydroponics gardens.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 18:17

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