Monday, February 11, 2013

Basil Spots

With my mindset lately, when I saw the subject line on Chris's (a loyal listener of In Your Backyard heard on email, I thought to myself, "Oh no, Chris has melanoma..."  Thankfully, Chris does not but his basil isn't feeling well lately.

Here's his question: 

I planed sweet basil (from __________ )  about 3 weeks ago.  Looks like I am doing good, but I noticed some brown spots.  The soil was amended some with compost and ______________ soil for vegetables and flowers. The plant did stress/droop within the first week of initial planting, bounced back up after watering but is doing good now.  Watering is done by hand now at the base of the plant.
 Are the brown spots normal?  Due to fungus? Nutrition deficiency?

Chris, good question and the photograph helps answer the question.  Your basil definitely is suffering from Colletotrichum disease.  The disease is identified by the black spots, black haloed rings, and black stems. It occurs when there is a combination of high humidity, lack of air circulation, and the plants are watered often. You will want to get rid of the basil plants that are affected and plant another herb or plant in that location.

When you use plant with soil amendments, especially ones that hold water well, gardeners can overwater plants.  Always check the soil before watering to ensure that you really do need to water.  Never water the soil if the ground is wet, cool, or damp.  Twice a week watering should be enough for amended garden beds in full sun.   Space plants far enough apart that they have plenty of air circulation. 

Thanks for writing Chris!


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