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The beet plant is so much of an important nutrient provider to the body and deserves to not be infected by a disease.
Here’s a tip you should know about beets and why you should never let any disease thrive on this important plant.
The first time I ever tasted a beet was at age four. I was diagnosed with reduced body energy and the doctor had recommended beet to mum.
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On our way home, mum bought some beet plants, along with the roots and leaves. I didn’t really know why she insisted on getting the leaves as well, but she had her way at the market and got the beetroot and its leaves.
At home, while I lay down on the Sofa, Mum quickly fixed a simple salad and added the beet leaves. Then she boiled beetroot and served it as food.
After eating, it took just a while before I regained a good amount of energy and was seen running around the stairs with my toy bear-parsley.
I think the energy I recovered wasn’t just as a result of the beet I ate, but I know that the beets helped a great deal. Apart from being a source of energy, beet plants are nutrient-packed to ensure the right blend of nutrition for a healthy individual.
Like every other plant, beets also suffer from pests and disease attacks, which threaten their life and growth.
Notable among the list of these pests and diseases that attack beets is the Cercospora beticola.
The Cercospora beticola is a fungal disease that affects plants like beets, spinach, and swiss chard, leading to leaf spots.
The Cercospora Leaf Spot disease attacks leafy green vegetables with more preference to the ones listed above. This disease often results in spots on the leaves of the infected plants.
The spots are brown and look like rings on the leaves of beet plants. The life cycle of this disease begins from the plant’s intake of the spores through the stomata.
Beet Cercospora leaf spot disease thrives well in hot weather conditions and soil that is not well watered.
The ring spots form independently on the plant leaves and if left unchecked, the independent disease spots begin to merge to form something bigger, something that looks like a dead area on the leaves.
The beet Cercospora beticola disease is transmitted by both insect vectors and air and can lodge on garden debris where it is easily transmitted to healthy beet plants.
In this article, I outline the best ways to address the beet Cercospora beticola disease that ensures a low mortality rate of beet and complete removal of the fungal beticola spores.
How Do You Get Rid of Cercospora Leaf Spots?
The appearance of the ring-shaped spots on your beet plants is a sign that the plants have gotten the fungi.
There’s no need to get all worked up at this point because there are a lot of things you can do to get rid of this fungal disease from your beet plant.
If left unchecked, the Cercospora leaf spot disease can rapidly spread through every part of the plant and cause chlorosis which inhibits the plants from carrying out photosynthesis.
Once the ability to carry out photosynthesis is removed from a plant, the plants can no longer live, hence they die off.
The following are ways to get rid of the Cercospora leaf spot disease on beets:
- Use Disease Resistant Beet Cultivars
- Good sunlight and soil need
- Adequate Water application
- Practice rotation cropping
- Pre-treat with fungicides.
Your guess is correct if you guessed that the best ways to control and get rid of a disease is by preventing them in the first place.
To get rid of leaf spot disease, it is necessary to get rid of them before they are able to have breathing grounds on the beet plants.
So the above-listed methods are more of preventive measures rather than controls.
1. Use Disease Resistant Beet Cultivars
Thanks to advancements in science and biological DNA programming, there now exists varieties of beet cultivars that are made resistant to major fungal diseases.
This is done by modifying the cell structure and creating growth patterns in the cellular internal systems that are able to fight off any form of the disease.
Cultivating these beet cultivars with high resistance to Cercospora will keep your beet land free from fungal disease, which will, in turn, ensure good yield, a happy beet plant, and a satisfied farmer.
2. Good Sunlight and Soil Need
The Cercospora beticola is a fungal disease that forms and spreads when the beet plant is not getting the healthy dosage of all that is required for its good growth, like sunlight and good soil.
Beet plants that get less than or more than enough sunlight have a higher susceptibility to Cercospora beticola fungal disease than the ones growing under adequate sunlight.
This is the same thing for soil. When beets grow in poor soil, their resistance to disease is greatly affected and they are usually not able to resist the growth of Cercospora on their leaves.
To avert this deficiency, it is necessary that you supply enough sunlight to the plant growing in your garden or a plant pot inside the house.
The location should be such that it gives the plant enough sunlight to thrive.
You should also choose the right soil. The best soil for cultivating beets that are disease resistant is fertile soil with good draining abilities.
3. Adequate Water Application
A beet plant that is starved of water is highly susceptible to disease growth. This is also the same for a beet plant that is given too much water.
Do not underwater your beet plant, and do not also overwater it. Underwatering keeps the plant stressed and unable to resist any kind of disease while overwatering leads to root rot as well as the encouragement of Cercospora fungal disease.
When you water with a hose, aim the water at the soil rather than on the leaves of the beet crop.
This is because wet leaves are a good breeding ground for the vectors that give rise to the Cercospora beticola leaf spot disease on beet.
4. Practice Rotation Cropping
Rotation cropping is good for keeping beet crops away from soils that have grown too weak and become vulnerable to the Cercospora beticola leaf spot disease.
Rotation cropping is the art of changing sites for planting every year.
In the case of plant pots, rotation cropping involves the annual change of potting soil.
Rotation cropping apart from keeping beets away from soils that have grown too weak and gotten vulnerable to cercospora, also helps to provide fresh nutrients to the plants, which will in turn, determine good crop yield.
- Pre-treat with Fungicides
Pre-treating your beet crops with fungicides before cultivating them, is a good way of getting your plants started on a good growth foot.
The plants are made resistant to fungal diseases including Cercospora beticola by this act.
The leaves that spring up from the shoots have fungal-resistant condiments already and cannot allow the growth of dark beticola spots on them.
Most pre-treatment fungicides contain potassium bicarbonate and neem concentrates that cannot harm beet seeds or rhizomes used for the propagation of new beet plants.
Critical Case of Cercospora Disease Infestation
Sometimes, the Cercospora fungal disease gets out of hand despite the control measures set up.
When the many spots develop on the beet plant leaves and continue to expand, the best thing to do is to apply mild fungicides on the plants.
If the Infestation has covered a full leaf, rather than using fungicides to try to control it while it spreads to other leaves on the stem, the best option is to sever the leaf stalk from the entire stem by pruning.
Prune out every leaf affected by the cercospora disease. This inhibits its spread and frees the plant from further growth of the disease.
After pruning, ensure to give the plant adequate care and give light fungicide treatment to the leaves and soil. This will kill the remnant of the disease in any other part of the beet crop.
Can You Eat Beet Leaves With Cercospora?
It depends on your choice. Generally, beet leaves with cercospora do not have any harmful side effects when eaten but most people do not like to eat beet leaves that have cercospora on them.
Beet leaves with cercospora look wilted and the red ringed spots on the leaves make them look really non-inviting as food.
Humans love fresh vegetables that look healthy, because we believe that the nutrition of a vegetable is in how fresh it is, and even though this notion is not scientifically proven, most people would never want to eat beet leaves that are all wrinkled up with red spots resulting from cercospora disease.
So yes, you can eat beet leaves with cercospora as long as you have them washed.
How Do You Get Rid of Anthracnose Naturally
Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects a list of flowering and fruit bearing plants.
Affected plants develop black or brown lesions or blights. These blights are the reasons why the anthracnose disease is often referred to as plant blights.
The control of anthracnose naturally means that you do not employ the use of chemicals to control the growth and development of the disease.
You can control anthracnose naturally by application of fungicides to affected plant leaves.
In the event of excessive Infestation, you would need to prune the infected leaves.
You can also prevent the growth of anthracnose on your plants by using resistant varieties and ensuring good gardening practices.
Addressing cercospora plant disease requires little effort from the gardener.
You just need to monitor the growth of your beet plants and guard against the formation of the fungal spores.
Early control helps greatly to secure the life of the plant and rid the beets of the disease.
Use fungal resistant beet species for cultivation and practice good gardening practices.
Your beet crops should be fine when you practice all of the principles in this article.