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Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

Posted by fivemurfs 6.5 TN (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 3, 08 at 12:10

Has anyone here tried carefully spraying a very dilute bleach/water solution in the dormant season on soil as a way to be rid of fungus? In theory wouldn't bleach kill the fungus?

I haven't tried it because I'm afraid it would kill dormant perennials, but I may try it on just a scrap of the area where fungus seems to really bother the plants growing there.

Just curious to see if any of you folks had tried it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

Think about the soil environment. A healthy soil is teeming with all kinds of microorganisms, most of which are beneficial if not essential to plant life. Many of those organisms actually help plants fight of the disease causing agents. Bleach is simply not good for the soil.

A better plan would be to find out what kind of fungus is affecting your plants (you may already know this), and find out why those plants have become susceptible. Also, good housekeeping practices in the fall and winter can go a long way in preventing a reinfection of disease.

If you tell us what kind of plants you're having problems with, as well as the disease symptoms, perhaps we can offer some good advice.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 3, 08 at 19:17

Just to add to what rhizo said, household bleach has a ph of something like 10, or 11. I don't know what if any lasting effect that might have on my soil ph, and I don't want to find out :)


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

Way back in the olden days even soil scientist thought soil fungi were bad and needed to be destroyed, but today no one that knows what is going on in soils thinks soil fungi are bad and we know they do not need to be gotten rid of since they are required to have a good, healthy soil. While chlorine (what is in bleach) is very alkaline you would need to put so much on your soil to affect the soils pH that you would not be able to live there anymore.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

Thanks all for your responses. I guess I didn't think it through to the logical conclusion, that bleach would kill everything. I'm not a strict organic gardener, but I do appreciate that the soil and all it contains benefit the plants and I do try to use natural solutions for pest problems.

I've had fungus problems off and on for years, but have hesitated spraying the plants for it, because I can only find sprays that look like poison.

I've learned that plants need good air circulation and I've stopped crowding everything together. Also, I've taken out plants that seem prone to fungus or mildew, like bee balm and roses. I have a lot of Irises and I really don't want to get rid of them. The flags rust before they bloom and some of the bearded varieties get that rust after they bloom. Same with the Siberians.

Almost all of my plants get a little yellow on the bottom leaves, but I can live with that by just picking them off and throwing them in the trash, not in the compost.

Any suggestions that you all have would be greatly appreciated. I'm taking the Iris problem I'm having to the Iris forum.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

Keep this in mind when pruning plants, especially infected ones. Sterilize your tools before and and between each cutting with a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water mixture. You needn't rinse the tool and sterilization.

You do this so you don't spread the infection.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

My Saint Augustine grass started dying in one small spot 3 years ago, since then the(fungus?) has spread across that part of my yard, it has good southern exposure, we have been in a drought for 3 years, now my dogwood trees have a gray to white stuff growing on the bark, starting from bottom and moving up. What is this? I call it a terrorist attack on my soil, LOL. PLEASE HELP. I live in Zone 7


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

There more than likely is nothing wrong with your dogwood except the naturally occuring lichen growth that happens on most all trees. Many people see this and get really concerned over nothing.
Any time any plant is stressed it is more susceptible to problems and unless you can ensure that your grass will get sufficient water to maintain healthy growth there is no reason to start to try and control what may be an environmental condition (due to the drought).


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

WOW that makes me feel a lot better Kismsa,thank you so much. I think I will get it tested, or is this a waste of time and resources which is limited to to me being a disabled nurse with a tight budget.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

90% of the time fungus problems can be controlled by spreading cornmeal once a month on lawns or garden beds. Begin the applications early in the growing season just as new shoots emerge. Continue through to mid fall. Do a search for "cornmeal", also "brown patch", here on GW for tons of additional information.


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RE: cormeal

where can I get large bags of the proper cornmeal for spreding over gardens, flowers etc.?


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

I have a fungus in my garden that has killed my strawberries and also my green beans die after a very short season, which is also a fungus. I would try cornmeal if I knew of a specific kind of cornmeal to use.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

i have young tomatoe plants started from seed few weeks ago this morning i noticed a white patch on some of the plants soil i assumed it was a fungus, i will be planting in garden soil in couple weeks,i have put fan to stop or slow down fungus should i try anything else.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

If your soil does appear to have a fungus that is bad, keep in mind there are good and bad fungi as well as good and bad insects, then where that disease fungi is needs have any susceptible plants removed and the soil then cover cropped and have compost and other organic matter added, and maybe solarized. None of the plants that this fungi needs to live should be planted in that area for at least 3 years.
Seedlings will sometimes have whiteish spots due to a cold soil, too moist soil, or maybe powdery mildew.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

I have a large bed of asiatic and oriental lilies. Every year I have a very small spot where the lilies grow a bad fungus and leaves get black spots with yellow leaves starting at the bottome and eventually the stems turn black. Last year I pulled out what I thought was the offending plant and threw the whole thing away, this year I have another lily in the same spot doing the same thing.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

I guess I would have to disagree with you all. Bleach is the only thing that has kept my dianthus from their death this year. And it was no a dilute version of bleach. It was a strong version of bleach. Nothing has died from having bleach water pored on it and the dianthus with early symptoms of fungus were dug up and dipped in bleach, then the hole they camer out of was saturated with bleach and re-planted. Not only did the plants survive but they are now growing and doing well. Finnally something has saveed my plants.


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RE: Possible Soil Fungus Solution?

For Powdery Mildew I've tried commercial products with no results. Then i was told by an experienced organic gardener to simply remove the affected leaves and put milk in a spray bottle and spray your affected plants. The enzymes in the milk kill the fungus.It works Great!


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