Decado
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Location: Crystal, MN (Zone 4)

What's Eating My Morning Glories?

So, I took this picture of these beautiful thriving morning glories about 3 days ago, and they were completely disease free.
[img]https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/wrathloki/8-18-2009/DSC02040.jpg[/img]
But yesterday, I noticed that some kind of disease is running rampant through them. I had to pull about 40 leaves like this, and even after that the whole area below the top of the fence is covered in at least a little bit of whatever this is.
[img]https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/wrathloki/8-18-2009/DSC02030.jpg[/img]
What's taking over these and what steps can I take to slow/stop whatever it is?

On a side note, what could be the deal with my entire property? It seems like just about every plant on the property is getting affected by some kind of disease this year, it's quite rampant and I don't know what to do about it :(.

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rainbowgardener
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fungal disease

Don't know specifically, but it looks like some kind of fungal disease. Once you have something like that in your garden it can spread through everything if you aren't vigilant. Morning glories are generally pretty tough and not real disease prone, but they can be attacked by verticillium wilt which also attacks tomatoes and a number of other plants.

If you have had a very rainy season, as we have where I am, it sets up better conditions for all the fungi.

My suggestion would be to get rid of every leaf that might be affected and then trim all the plants back a bunch (and don't compost any of that including the trimmings). Wipe your clippers with bleach between clippings to avoid spreading it. Then spray your whole garden with the milk and water spray that's been mentioned a lot in this forum, being sure to get the undersides of leaves.

Decado
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Actually we've had drought conditions all spring and summer, I did get a fungus that took over my tomatoes, a fungus that I've been clipping leaves off ever since I planted the tomatoes. Also there's some kind of powdery thing all over my zucchini leaves now, some kind of wilt is taking over my clematis', my annuals got decimated earlier this summer by some kind of fungus. It doesn't make sense for me to be having this much fungus with the serious drought conditions we were in, it's like I've had some kind of death curse put over my property.

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Kisal
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Rainbow is right. In fact, all of what you have described sounds like various fungal diseases. The white, powdery stuff is probably powdery mildew, for instance.

Fungal diseases thrive in high heat and humidity, so they can occur even during drought conditions. Plants that are under stress, perhaps due to insufficient water, would be more susceptible to diseases of all types. JMO. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

GeorgiaGirl
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Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

Weird -- you're all organic, aren't you (if I remember correctly)? I would think that with a healthy organic approach to soil management your plants would be stronger and much better able to withstand the stress (drought, harmful fungi, etc.) they've been under so I'm surprised to hear all the problems you're having -- I'd think so many issues would primarily attack chemical junkies. :?

I would 1) apply some specific organic treatments to combat the various fungi your plants are experiencing (for instance, this blog mentions several good treatments for fighting powdery mildew: https://gaminesgarden.blogspot.com/2009/08/powdery-mildew.html ), and 2) in the meantime, apply some good compost tea EVERYwhere (lawn, gardens, everywhere) to build up beneficials in your soil. Honestly, with as many problems as you're having, I'd be applying compost tea once a week for a while.
Julia in Georgia

Decado
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Actually I'm not all organic, I use Miracle Gro weekly but I'm building up some good compost so I can go organic next year. Does going organic really help that much in protecting against fungi?

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applestar
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I wanted to make up a specific a team sport analogy but I couldn't think of it. :roll:

Broadly speaking, when you're growing organic, you got a whole team going about with their individual play/tasks but all fighting off the opposition with you. When you use chemical fertilizers, I guess it's like your team just got usurped by ringers on steroids, and these guys may get the job done, but they don't last and burn out. At the same time, they've barreled through your own team and knocked them out of the game, so now your defense is weakened at best, or completely shot.

Does that make sense? If someone can make this clearer, be my guest. :wink:

GeorgiaGirl
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Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

Ohhhhh yes... sorry... I realized after looking back at the infamous organic vs. chemicals thread the reason your name looked familiar! :wink:

I will quote from one of the books that really opened my eyes as to why organic works, Lowenfels & Lewis' Teaming with Microbes:
Beneficial fungi form protective webs around roots and on leaf surfaces... this prevents some of their pathogenic and parasitic fungal cousins from invading the plant.
So basically, a healthy soil food web that's rich in beneficial fungi will safeguard your plants against a host of the pathogenic fungi. Plus, plants that are healthy and strong (which happens when ALL their needs are met by a healthy microbe life in the soil -- that doesn't happen with a weekly shot of chemical N-P-K) are better able to fight off not just bad fungi but also pests, drought, etc.

I'm glad to hear you're composting and plan to go organic next year. You will be stunned at the difference. I would definitely do the compost tea approach in the meantime (if you can get a handful of finished compost somewhere) to start to nourish back to health your soil which sounds like it's starved of healthy microbe life. That will give your sick plants a fighting chance this year and a head start on next year.

I would definitely read Teaming with Microbes at some point. (Actually, after that thread on the organic forum, I've thought about sending a copy to Dr. Borlaug... heh heh. :D) The first half is heavy on detailed microbiology, which actually appeals to the science-lover in me, but may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's very eye-opening as to WHY the organic approach (build the soil, don't just feed the plants) works.
Julia in Georgia

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