Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Romularia Spot

One of the facts of gardening life here in southern Indiana is the yearly occurrence of romularia spot.

See the spots on the leaves, left?  That's romularia.  

It's a fungus whose sole purpose in life, I swear, is to take over my garden.  

I'm pretty sure.

And this is what it did to my tomatoes in just a couple of days.   Loads of brown crispy leaves.  I've seen it take a 5 ft diameter clump of rhubarb down to 2 inch stumps in 10 days. 

This fungus spreads in warm damp conditions.    This means that our humid Indiana summers are a perfect breeding ground for romularia spot, and sure enough, I see it every year.   

Romularia hates hot and dry.    All of our heat this summer really helped control it this year.    However, as soon as it cooled down, the romularia took over.  

You'll see it in the lushest parts of the plants first - that's because there's not enough air circulation to dry it out.  Then it will spread up.

Romularia will kill a plant if it can - by defoliation.   Our weather just got hot and dry again, so I'm not going to panic.  I confess that I've been tempted to put fans in the garden just to dry things off.  Since it's September now and the end of the season, I've decided not to, but I will be pulling all the plants off the beds and burning the debris to kill the romularia leftovers.   That helps control squash bugs, too. 

However, I'm keeping a good eye on my peppers - the leaves got spots and turned yellowish and the whole thing kind of drooped.   The fruit is unaffected and we'll harvest that if the plant loses too many leaves.

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