Gerbera Research Group Inc.
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Pests and Diseases
Some insects are benificial to plants and flowers by spreading pollen and feeding on insects which can damage plants
Some insects find plants a good food source
One of our members recently had his whole garden completely devastated by white rust. It has taken him about five months to get going again and he is still not sure how safe it is.
White rust is a fungal disease brought on by humid conditions which are occurring far more often in WA, summer or winter. Prevention is always better than cure, sometimes there is no cure. One can liken it to the several childhood conditions which we think have gone from this earth. The outbreak of whooping cough a couple of years ago is an example. People thought it was gone, stopped vaccinating children and lo and behold we get a serious outbreak. It was never claimed to be stopped for good, only controlled.
Same story with the white rust. You should prevent it by spraying 2 to 3 times a year, not forgetting the ground around the plants, with a copper based or wetted sulphur spray. You should also have a sticker or spreader mixed in with it. This is an oil based additive which allows the spray to stick to the plant. Spray back and front of the leaves and flowers. You usually find the densest infection on the back of the leaf. This is always slightly damper than the front due to more pores on the back of the leaf than the front so producing the greater humidity, ideal for fungus growth of any kind.
You can detect the onset by carefully checking the leaves. They develop a round, yellowy green patch which will spread outwards. When you turn it over you will see the blistery looking white spots with minute threads radiating outwards these will spread over the whole of the under surface of the leaves and flowers and will join up.
Take the usual precautions when spraying. Select a dry day with no wind and do not water for at least 24 hours.
Do not cut the stems as this leaves a raw surface which will be vulnerable to any other nasty lurking in the vicinity.
Reach down with fingertips to the base of the leaf or flower stem and gently twist it out.
If you have to cut leave a 3 to 4 cm stub which you should twist out as soon as it dies down.
Have a bag of some type ready and place them directly in to it. Seal the bag and since burning is no longer an option bin it.
Take no risks.
Happy gardening. Jan.
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