Fighting Pachysandra Leaf Blight
Knowing the cycle, instigators and management of Pachysandra Leaf Blight will help you take care of the problem quickly and effectively if it arises. Pachysandra Leaf Blight is caused by a fungus that creates brown spots on the leaves of your Pachysandra and eventually these spots will become large, enveloping the entire leaf until the leaf falls off. There are chemical and natural ways to rid your plant of this fungus and prevent future infections.
Knowing the Cycle
Spores, to the trained eye, are usually noticeable in Spring and are a pinkish color. These will show up on tissue that is currently infected. They don't just occur on the leaves. They also infect the stems of the Pachysandra. As the warm weather continues into summer and fall, the spores will congregate in a large mass that is orange in color. They can easily be spotted around the area where the brown spots are located. The main problem with fungal infections is that many instigators will cause the infection to spread.
Knowing the Instigators
First and foremost, improper care of your plant will prove to be a leading factor in the infection of most plants. If you plant is weakened or stressed, it becomes more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections as well as pest infestations. On the topic of pests, these little guys also help disease proliferate. Not only can they carry the spores on their bodies as they walk around your plant, but they damage the leaves by creating a wound that can easily be infected by fungal spores. Spores are spread by both pests and rain, even wind. Fungus loves wet conditions so manage these kinds of conditions and know what will help prevent disaster.
A little plant hygiene can make a big difference in the health of your plant. By fertilizing and properly watering your plant, you will make it strong and healthy, building up its defenses against predators. Drought and excessive sunlight can damage leaves, making infection imminent. If you notice any insects on your plant, make sure you eliminate them in a timely fashion. If there is a serious infestation, an insecticide can help, although good plant hygiene should protect against this for the most part.
If your plants are tightly packed together or in close proximity, pruning leaves to allow more airflow will help protect against fungal infection and allow leaves to dry faster, especially after rain or wet conditions. Pruning also helps prevent spread of disease since not many leaves will be clustered together. New infections can start at any time, so if you notice infected plants, remove them--any time of the year. If you see just a few infected leaves, cut them, sanitizing the cutting blade after each leaf is cut.
Fungicides are readily available to treat leaf blights. Vegetable and ornamental fungicide works well, as does a garden disease control concentrate. You don't need to spend a large amount of money on a fungicide specific for Pachysandras. If you are unsure what to use, call your local extension office for suggestions.