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Plants, Pests, and Disease: The Factors Revealed!

Updated: Aug 15

We all love a healthy plant. Healthy plants are wonderful!

Blooming Cucumbers
A Healthy Cucumber Plant

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?!

Plant Immunity

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

Plant 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

Sunlight and Heart
I love a sun filled day!

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

Calcium Deficiency called Blossom End Rot
Tomato Blossom End Rot (Calcium Deficiency)

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

is missing.

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

Rain gauge measure water!
Rainy Day Rain Gauge

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.

Watermelon hiding in the weeds!
Weeds and Watermelon

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"!

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