Anthracnose is a fungal infection of the genus Colletrichum, the host of several different Anthracnose species. This fungal infection affects everything from trees to vegetables.

anthracnose The infection begins as small yellow spots on water soaked areas of leaves and fruit which quickly grow larger and turn brown. These lesions soon turn black and the fruit shrivels.

The fungus is capable of attacking growing fruit as well as fruit in storage. And when I refer to 'fruit' I am also referring to vegetables as well.

It attacks melons, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash and pumpkins and is easily identifiable by the 'whisker like' hairs on the infection easily seen with a magnifying glass.

The fungus usually attacks ripe fruit but different fungal species will attack fruit in storage as well and each separate species seems to be plant specific. The fungus can lay dormant in plant residue for up to 2 years waiting to attach itself to a water droplet and spread to another host - humid, damp conditions help the infection to spread.

Eradicating Anthracnose

Prevention is the best method to fight this nuisance fungus:

  • Plant seeds treated with fungicide,
  • Plant vetable varieties resistant to the infection,
  • Do not work on or near plants in wet conditions or the fungus will attach itself to wet clothes and spread to other plants you come in contact with,
  • Spray plants with a fungicide regularly.

So what can you do to get rid of this fungus once you find that you are infected? Harsh chemicals will always work but my suggestion is to make up a home made fungicide based on neem oil.

The fungus seems to be sensitive to neem oil for some reason so a couple teaspoons of neem oil along with some baking soda mixed with a pint of water can kill this fungus.

Mix these ingredients with water and strain into a spray bottle. Also keep in mind that the spores can attach themselves to other nuisance insects which can spread the fungus in wet conditions when they travel from plant to plant so keep those nuisance bugs away...

Keep in mind the basic rules when making natural fungicides: changing the surface pH on the fungus is deadly to the infection making baking soda and hydrogen peroxide an important part of your arsenal. And adding a little dishsoap and/or oil will make the ingredients stick on the leaves better.

Good luck!

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