The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is actually your best course of action, as it applies to diseases as well as pests. IPM aims to maintain a productive garden—and eradicate plant diseases—with minimal use of synthetic controls. First, let’s understand the root cause. All plant diseases are caused by three kinds of organisms: fungus, bacteria, and viruses. Any of the three may be responsible for leaf, stem, and flower diseases, but the vast majority of soilborne diseases are caused by fungus. So how can you treat these fungus-spreading plant diseases? Natural controls include baking soda, which helps to control powdery mildew; copper soaps, or garlic solutions. Because many plant diseases cannot be eradicated once their symptoms are apparent, prevention is important.
If diseases do appear in your garden, immediately remove infected annuals and vegetables to keep the problem from spreading. On larger plants, including perennials, remove diseased flowers, leaves, and, if possible, branches. Tackling common plant diseases like Black Spot and Flireblight can take time, but it’s well worth the effort to keep your garden healthy and growing.