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    Botrytis (Gray Mold)

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    The fungus that causes Botrytis (Gray Mold) is the Botrytis cinerea. It invades weak and damaged plant tissue. Flowers are very susceptible during bloom, while berries are attacked at all stages of development. Gray mold spores survive in plant debris and are spread through the air during the whole growing season. Spores may also spread by splashing water or contact with infected plant parts. Cool temperatures, high humidity, and standing water on plants favor the disease, as do close plant spacing and overhead watering. Gray mold is more severe if crops are not rotated.

    Target

    Flowers, vegetables, and fruits, including peony, blueberry, grape, strawberry, bean, ageratum, begonia, dogwood, Gerbera daisy, geranium, and zinnia.

    Signs

    Water-soaked lesions appear on leaves, stems, blossoms, or fruit. In advanced stages of the disease, lesions may be covered with gray spore masses. On peonies young flower buds turn black and wither; older buds turn soft, brown and stems wilt and die.

    Prevention

    Create good air circulation by spacing plants properly. If possible, orient crop plants in the same direction as the prevailing winds. Mulch with pine needles, straw, or plastic to keep fruit off the ground. Harvest small fruits every few days when ripe. Remove faded flowers from annuals and perennials.

    Control

    To control botrytis, remove and discard all dead or infected plant parts. On peonies, spray with mancozeb. For grapes, strawberries, and other fruits, use captan. annuals and perennials, apply chlorothalonil (Daconil). Apply all fungicides according to label directions.

    Video Credits: DeBacco University
    Image Credits: Alexandre Dulaunoy, WikiMedia

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