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Fungicides are a specialized type of deterrent used to control and mitigate the fungi that cause fungal diseases. It’s essential to determine the cause of symptoms before deciding on the use of a fungicide.
The main reasons for the use of natural fungicides are to:
- Enhance productivity and reduce crop blemishes.
- Prolong shelf life and quality of produce harvested.
- Control disease during crop development.
In order to create botanical fungicides, some manufacturers extract components like sabadilla, pyrethrin, and rotenone from their respective plants. Botanical fungicides are safer for the environment. They’re also much safer for people applying them compared to chemical pest control options. They are often stronger and more effective than many natural fungicides. Sierra Natural Science uses botanical fungicides in some of its products, including SNS 244C™ Fungicide Concentrate, SNS-244™ Fungicide Ready to Use, and SNS-DC™ All Natural Disease & Fungal Control Concentrated, among others.
The products of Sierra Natural Science are superior because of the unique combination of botanical extracts used in our proprietary formulas. Even though other companies may make organic fungicides, they are not necessarily botanical.
Oils in Natural Fungicides
Fungicidal oils minimize the spread of pathogens through:
- Control over the vectors that carry them e.g. aphids and mites.
- Control over thrips that, in turn, reduce the spread of the tobacco mosaic virus.
- Effective management of powdery mildew in plants.
Many plant varieties are delicate and sensitive to oils. In conifers, damage spans from the needle-like leaves, which are deprived of their somewhat blue color and caused to darken. In broadleaf plants, oil harm causes a light yellowing that later forms into water-splashed sores, darkening before eventually dying.
Horticultural oils are the products derived when refining mineral oils to repel pollutants that can harm plants. Final distillate oil becomes mixed with an emulsifying specialist that allows the oil to blend in with water. The two primary kinds of natural fungicide oils utilized in the farm, garden, or lawn are:
- Summer oil – used on green tissue during the developing season.
- Dormant oil – utilized on woody fruit trees in their dormancy phases.
High dampness can prevent quick oil dissipation, which can add to plant phytotoxicity. Sierra Natural Science offers a range of natural fungicide concentrates that are best suited for this purpose because they have botanical extracts that will cause no or minimal damage to plants and crops. It’s recommended to apply the oil concentrate when the relative humidity is under 65% so the oil can dissipate rapidly.
Neem oil is an extract from the neem tree. At an extract percentage of 70%, neem oil can somewhat kill the spores of powdery mildew, insect vectors, and the eggs of various creepy crawly bugs. There are some significant downsides to neem oil as well, for example:
- It’s toxic to cats and dogs
- It causes vomiting and drowsiness when ingested by children
- It’s not very effective in controlling most fungus blooms
Bicarbonates in Natural Fungicides
Sodium bicarbonate can be successful against plant infections when utilized with oil. Though botanical fungicides are always advisable due to their effectiveness, potassium bicarbonate and ammonium bicarbonate provide better disease control and plant wellbeing than sodium bicarbonates. These bicarbonates have an added advantage in that they give nitrogen and potassium, which are useful plant minerals.
Sulfur can be a preventive fungicide against mildew, rose dark spots, rusts, and different infections. Sulfur keeps contagious spores from sprouting, so it must be applied before the infection spreads for the best outcome. Sulfur also has an unpleasant smell, and if enough is ingested, it can cause burning sensations or diarrhea.
Sulfur takes the form of wettable powder or fluid fungicide such as fungicide concentrate. One should try not to use sulfur if oil spray was used within the previous thirty days – the blend is phytotoxic to plants. Similarly, you shouldn’t apply any sulfur when temperatures can potentially exceed 80°F in order to lessen the danger of plant damage. Some plants happen to be very sensitive to sulfur, so keep that in mind. Lime-sulfur is a type of sulfur blended in with lime (calcium hydroxide) and is a calm but potent spray, which means it ought not to be applied to plant foliage. Lime-sulfur is more potent than regular sulfur at lower concentrations.
Natural fungicides made with copper can adequately kill fungi and microbes on some plants. Farmers should take care to keep copper from harming the host plant by using sparingly at low concentrations. Copper sulfate was among the earliest natural copper fungicides used.
Copper isn’t solely just fungicidal. The Bordeaux blend additionally is bactericidal, which implies that it can be effective against infections caused both by fungi and by bacteria. The Bordeaux blend owes some portion of its success to its capacity to continue through spring downpours and adhere to plant membranes. The so-called “Bordeaux Blend” has equal parts of copper sulfate and lime to about 50 parts of water. Copper, similar to sulfur, can be phytotoxic. Youthful foliage is particularly delicate when it comes to copper.
Companion Planting and Compost Teas
Companion planting can help combat fungal infections and enrich soil structure as well. A good example is borage. Borage supports just about any plant close to it by limiting the harmful effects of pests and infections. It’s especially useful to strawberry plants and tomatoes. Another good companion plant is chives. Chives improve the development and flavor of vegetable yields and can reduce scabs in apple trees and dark spots in roses. Garlic plants also collect sulfur in the dirt, which is an appropriate fungicide that plants will assimilate into their pores when it’s nearby. If companion planting doesn’t work, it’s always advisable to go for botanical fungicides such as the products offered by SNS.
Compost teas contain beneficial microbes and nutrients that can act as light natural fungicides. They also mitigate against similar effects of vector-borne disease.
Directions to prepare compost tea:
- Add about five centimeters of finished compost into the bottom of a bucket
- Mix an ounce of unsulfured molasses to feed the beneficial microorganisms in the compost
- Fill the bucket to about six inches from the top of the bucket with water
- Let the mixture steep outdoors in the sunlight for two to three days
- Strain the compost from the tea with cheesecloth
- Spray the tea onto the plants and the soil about every two to three weeks
Compost teas contain helpful microorganisms and supplements that have properties of mild-acting fungicides, and they also control different infections transmitted by bugs. This homemade remedy, while inexpensive, is time consuming and less effective than the SNS natural fungicide products.
Is Powdery Mildew Consuming Your Cucumbers?
Powdery mildew is a white, fine covering that can show up on leaves and stems. Infected areas can turn yellow or dark-colored, and dead foliage can slip off the stem. Mildew is brought about by high humidity, low light, and reduced movement of the surrounding air. Improving environmental conditions prevents the growth and spread of powdery mildew. In case one is concerned about their garden or plants, this is the procedure some amateur gardeners use:
- Examine the cucumber plant for the presence of dusty mildew. They’ll look like a patchwork of white spores here and there on the surfaces of the leaves and vines. Some infected foliage could turn darker, dry up, and fall off.
- Clean the edges of the secateurs with a cloth dabbed with rubbing alcohol to sterilize the blade of any hint of bacterial and mildew presence from the recently cut plants.
- Cut off the diseased foliage and vines of the cucumber plant and dispose of the cuttings far away from the growing environment. This ensures that the fungus spores are not blown back to the garden by the wind. Then clean both blades of the secateurs with rubbing alcohol and allow them to dry before storing them away.
- Combine a mixture of five parts water and one part of milk in a cleaned spray device.
- Make sure that the cucumbers get a lot of natural light. Spray the plant(s) with powdery mildew with the spray mix. In natural light, the milk becomes a natural fungicide agent, killing any dusty mildew present then allowing the plant to dry.
- Water from an overhead irrigation system, or manually with a garden hose, will wash the spores away from the plant’s surface and allow the plant to dry.
Whether you’re looking to nurture your green thumb or trying to be a more environmentally conscious farming operation, natural fungicides are the way to go. Sierra Natural Science has a range of natural fungicide concentrates and sprays to work with any soil state, humidity and other environmental conditions.
Contact us today to get a quote!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is fungicide made of?
Many of the first fungicides developed were inorganic compounds based on sulfur or metal ions such as copper, tin, cadmium, and mercury that are toxic to fungi. Copper and sulfur are still widely used today. Most other fungicides used today are organic compounds and thus contain carbon.
How does one make a natural fungicide?
Baking soda is a common household ingredient that can be used in a homemade formula. It can be mildly effective as a fungus preventative. Combine 1½ teaspoons of baking soda with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and a gallon of water. Spray to combat powdery mildew every five to ten days until the solution drips off the plants, and spray more frequently in rainy weather.
Is there a natural fungicide?
Mixing baking soda with water, add about four teaspoons or one heaping tablespoon, twenty ml to one gallon, four liters of water. Note: many resources recommend using potassium bicarbonate as a substitute for baking soda. Dishwashing soap, without degreaser or bleach, is a popular ingredient for homemade plant fungicide.
Is Vinegar a fungicide?
While this acidic liquid is sometimes recommended as a plant fungicide, spraying vinegar directly on plants is a bad idea since one may kill or damage the foliage. While some homemade fungicide recipes include a little vinegar, no scientific studies to date support the idea that vinegar alone kills plant fungi.
Is Neem oil good as a fungicide?
One can use neem oil to prevent or even kill fungus on their plants if they are comfortable with possible damage to the leaves and stem. Another downside to Neem oil is the oily residue it leaves on flowers, leaves and fruits. While the residue can be washed off of most fruits pretty easily, it can be impossible to wash off of flowers and leaves. Use neem oil for powdery mildew and other common fungal diseases, including black spots, at your own risk. There are safer and more effective natural fungicide alternatives sold right here on the SNS website
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