DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PESTS AND DISEASES IN GARDEN PLANTS
Garden pests and diseases both can be heartbreaking for those of us who love plants. Plants, like humans and animals, have a life of their own. For those who tend to their gardens, having plants with pests or disease is akin to a pet lover who has a sick dog. We would not want that, would we?
We all naturally would want a healthy garden. Feeding and watering the plants would not suffice though. Great care should be taken to ensure that no pests or diseases can get to our plants.
Not all bugs that chew on plants need our action. There will always be some situations when our garden plants would still turn out fine despite a few bugs feeding on them. That is why we need to learn how to identify these garden pest so that the damages could be minimized.
What are the different types of garden pests and how to identify them?
Here are the types of pests we should be wary of:
Aphids – These are very tiny insects that look like pears. They have very long antennae and spiked tubes projecting from their back. They feed on fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and shaded trees throughout North America. They can suck the sap from these trees, and while doing this, they cause decay and can distort the plants. They can also cause the growth of mildew – a form of fungus – while also inflicting viral diseases.
To get rid of aphids, spray water on the plants. Encourage predators like lady beetles to control the population of the aphids.
Caterpillars – Caterpillars have soft bodies that are segmented. They have six legs at the front of their bodies and fleshy legs on the rear segments. They can certainly destroy a garden overnight. They can be found on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and trees. They chew on leaves. In order for you to get rid of caterpillars, encourage predators and parasites in your garden.
Cabbage maggot – They kill plants either directly or by creating entryways for disease organisms. When the cabbage root fly needs to lay eggs, they will do so at the base of the plant, and when these eggs hatch, they become this small, white legless worms. They destroy cabbages by burrowing through the roots slowly. Their eggs hatch only during the cool weather, and that is the reason why they attack only cool weather plants like the cabbage. They can also attack carrots, beets, broccoli, radishes, and turnips. When you see your plants start to wilt, this could be a sign of the presence of these maggots. You may then check for the presence of maggots at the roots. To get rid of cabbage maggots and prevent them from infesting your plants, simply put row covers over the plants. If you discover that your cabbage has maggots, you should pull the plant out and destroy it just to prevent the spread of the cabbage maggots.
Flea beetles – These beetles are small and are dark in color. They are excellent jumpers, similar to fleas. They destroy young plants, and their larvae feed on plant roots. For control, spray plants with garlic spray or kaolin clay.
Stink bugs – These insects are oval-shaped bugs that are usually 2 cm in length. They come in different colors: brown, black, or bright green. As a form of self – defense, they have chemicals that stink to distract predators. These chemicals come from glands located at the thorax. Adult stink bugs have wings, so they can fly. These wings are folded when not flying. Stink bugs are so annoying because of their odor. Their diet consists of garden plants and crops. They also prefer fleshy fruits but can eat just about any kinds of plants. Damage to crops could lead to early decay and spoilage. There is also discoloration. For prevention, put row covers on your plants to keep the stink bugs away. You may also cut tall grasses and remove dead leaves in your garden so that they will not have any hiding places.
Whiteflies – They have soft bodies with wings. These winged insects size is about 1/12 of an inch. They are active during the day and are found in large numbers under the leaves of plants. They feed on the sap or plant juices, and when it is sucked, the plant weakens and is unable to perform photosynthesis; leaves will wilt, and the plant dies. To control the spread of whiteflies, use a sticky trap to catch them. Another way is to use insects that are natural predators to rid your garden of whiteflies.
Garden plant diseases
Plant diseases are responsible for enormous damage to gardens, and this happens usually because of wet weather, poor drainage, or air flow not being adequate. Plant diseases can be characterized by the presence of moldy coatings, scabs, and botching.
Below is a list of plant diseases we should try to avoid:
Anthracnose – Signs include small, sunken spots on fruits. Spots that are pink in color also appear. An effective way to control this is to use liquid copper of neem sprays. Do this before and after infection periods. Unfortunately, severely infected plants need to be destroyed properly.
Curly Top virus – Its name is derived from one of its symptoms, as the leaves curl when plants get this disease. This is a common disease for tomatoes, beans, and peppers that are similar to the symptoms of moisture stress. Aside from curling, other symptoms include the leaves becoming thick and stiff. The plants may remain green, or turn yellow with purple veins. The plant also becomes stunted. This disease is spread by an insect called leafhopper – a small, wedge-shaped winged insect. To prevent your plants to get the curly top virus, put some shade for your tomatoes and peppers because leafhoppers like to feed in sunny spots.
Root Rot – There are many reasons why a root may die, and one reason could be fungi in the soils that could infect the roots. Symptoms of root rot is a dull foliage color. There are times when the leaves turn yellow and wilt. A lot of the root rot fungi attack small and large roots and stem tissue. As soon as the plant is showing symptoms, examine the plant directly to determine if it has root rot. Healthy plants have visible white feeder rootlets. Diseased plants do not have this. Roots that rot already are brown and mushy. To prevent root rot, improve your soil drainage as well as using proper planting techniques. Soil sloping should always be sloping away from buildings. If the root is already damaged, do not over-water.
Downy mildew – Downy mildew is caused by a fungal organism and destroys cucumbers and cantaloupes. Plants turn pale green on the upper leaf surfaces. It then changes to yellow spots. A fine downy growth soon appear. Infected leaves may die. Leaves near the center are infected first, then spread outwards. This causes stunted growth, poor fruit development, and defoliation. Eventually, the entire plant may die.
Pests and diseases in garden plants differentiation
Both pests and diseases are definitely destructive to our beloved plants. What are the differences then? For one, plants are reproduced sexually via eggs or through offspring. The most common of these are insects and mites and are most destructive agriculturally. Pests are also easier to identify and thus treat. Pests simply cause damages to plants by extracting water and food from these plants. Symptoms that you have pests in your garden include wilting, nibbling on the leaves and stems, falling leaves, dry leaves, and bad appearance on the floor.
On the other hand, plant diseases are changes in the plant’s physiology caused by biotic or abiotic agents. Biotic diseases are caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Abiotic diseases are caused by non-living things like climate, chemical toxicity due to insecticides, and the presence of pathogenic molecules. Symptoms of plant disease include loss of rigidity and fall of plants, stains on the leaves and fruits, abnormal local swelling, and non-uniform coloring in the foliage.
Whether pests or diseases, we should put in all the effort to protect our plants from this. Watch out for the signs and symptoms and take action at once.
And when it comes to pests, there is no one better to exterminate them than the best pest control management in North and South Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth is simply the best
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family company that uses the latest and most advanced technology in the business. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.
Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.