Updated: Aug 15
We all love a healthy plant. Healthy plants are wonderful!
They are strong stemmed, have a strong
root system, look vibrant, and have an
abundance of flowers. Healthy plants have
high yields of fruit because of their
continuous growth and production.
Everything is going great and then out of
nowhere, bam! We have pests and diseases!
We were caught totally off guard! What in
the world happened?!
Before we dive into what factors that can
cause plant pests and disease, it is crucial
to understand a fundamental concept: plant
immunity. Simply put, your plants are
designed to have defense mechanisms that
help them resist and respond to pathogens
and environmental stressors. When your
plant’s “immunity” is weakened, these
mechanisms are overcome by stress and as
a result, pests and disease show up!
Significant Factors that Cause Plant Pests and Disease
Weakened immune system, environmental conditions, poor air circulation, lack of pest monitoring are significant factors that cause plant pests and disease.
FIRST FACTOR: Weakened Immunity
Stressors to your plant can weaken its immune system or plant immunity. Such stressors as
inadequate sunlight, improper watering, nutrient deficiencies, poor soil health, or physical
damage. All can weaken a plant's immune system, making it more susceptible to infections or
Stressor: Inadequate Sunlight
As we know, sunlight is essential for your
plant not only to grow but to remain
healthy. Sunlight plays an important role in
photosynthesis where the plant converts
the energy in light into a chemical energy
which fuels their growth and development.
Excessive sunlight exposure can damage
plant tissues from excessive ultraviolet
radiation leading to reduced growth and
even damaging the mechanisms involved in
photosynthesis. On the contrary, too little
light reduces photosynthesis and can result
in stunted, thin, and leggy growth, pale or yellowing stems and leaves, or the plant dropping
Stressor: Improper Watering
Not watering your plant properly includes underwatering, overwatering, watering at the wrong
time, not monitoring your watering, not grouping plants together based on their watering
Overwatered plant details: wilting, yellowing leaves, mold or fungus growth, and root rot
Under Watered plant details: wilting, dry and crispy leaves, yellow or brown leaf edges, leaf drop, and slow growth.
Watering at the wrong time: A good example of this is watering plants when it’s scorching hot outside! Though this may give them immediate relief, prevent wilting leaves, and reduce the stress on the plant it also can cause the water to evaporate quickly, it can damage or scorch the leaves because of the hot sun, and it can set up the right environment for fungal disease.
Not monitoring your watering: Figuring out if you’re over or underwatering your plants doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Keep an eye on the soil by periodically checking the roots to ensure proper moisture levels.
Best Way to Check Soil Moisture is to stick your finger into the soil. If it's damp down 2-3 inches, then don't water.
Stressor: Nutrient Deficiencies
Sometimes, a plant doesn't get enough of
the important nutrients it needs to grow
and stay healthy. These nutrients help the
plant work properly. When a plant doesn't
have enough of a certain nutrient, it shows
signs that something is wrong. These
signs can help us figure out which nutrient
Check out the "Nutrient Deficiencies" Chart Below!!!
Stressor: Poor Soil Health
Poor soil health happens when the soil becomes weak and can't support plants and nature as it
should. This can happen because it has lost important things like nutrients, becomes
compacted, gets eroded or polluted, and loses its natural elements like plants and animals. To
make the soil healthy again, we can use good and natural ways like crop rotation, using natural
weed and bug control, companion planting, and adding organic compost. It's also helpful to test
the soil first to see what it needs.
Poor Soil Health Solution(s): crop rotation, companion planting, organic compost, soil testing, natural weed and bug control.
Stressor: Physical Damage
When a plant gets damaged, it must turn all its resources to repair the damage. As a result, the
plant’s immunity becomes compromised and leaves it susceptible to diseases and pests. Some
examples of physical damage include wounds or cuts, hail or wind damage, insect feeding on
the plant, frost or freezing injury, improper pruning or trimming, and wounds from mechanical
damage from human or animal activity or machinery.
SECOND FACTOR: Environmental Conditions
We all know that we can't control the
unpredictability of the environment.
Excessive humidity, high temperatures,
prolonged periods of rain or drought,
and fluctuations in temperature can
create favorable conditions for the
development and spread of disease.
THIRD FACTOR: Poor Air Circulation
Plants flourish when they experience natural air movement. However, under specific circumstances, the air may become stagnant or restricted in its flow, resulting in adverse effects on plants. This includes increased humidity and the presence of stagnant air, which create favorable conditions for the growth and spread of diseases.
Poor Air Circulation Factors
Overcrowding: When plants are too densely packed together, their foliage can obstruct the flow of air, hindering proper ventilation around each plant.
Physical barriers: Walls, fences, or buildings can create barriers that block natural air movement, leading to stagnant pockets around plants.
Dense foliage: Overgrown foliage can lead to issues that increase humidity and susceptibility to fungal diseases.
LAST FACTOR: Lack of Pest Monitoring
It is crucial to monitor your plants on a consistent basis. If this is not accomplished, populations of pests and diseases can grow and cause significant damage to your plants. Coming up with a routine to check your gardens will help you catch thing earlier and actually prevent significant damage.
Check out my YouTube video below on " How to Check on Your Plants" to create a simple routine of "Pest/Disease Monitoring"!