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Thread: DIY Fungicide - is this safe?

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    Terminus's Avatar
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    Question DIY Fungicide - is this safe?

    A few months ago I took a container bog class at the Atlanta Botanical Garden - namely because for a $30 class you get to around $60 worth of plants to take home.

    Anyway, I asked the instructor about fungicide treatment for container bogs - which mine tend to be prone too this time of year as they come out of dormancy.

    She told me to mix:
    1 gallon water
    1-2 drops of dish soap
    1-2 drops of lavender or orange oil

    This liquid was to be applied directly to the soil.

    I'd like a second opinion. Does anyone know if this is safe to use?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Uhh..... I wouldn't use that. I don't actually know if it will hurt anything or not, however small the damage may be (I'm guessing not at all!), but I would not use that when you could use chemical fungicides that are widely used and known safe. I'm sure they work better than dish soap and lavender oil anyway. It's sort of like making your own toothpaste. You CAN, but why bother when it doesn't have the chemical goodness and cavity fighting power? We live in the 21st century; we should take advantage of the horticultural advancements.

    If you're into the environment, and don't want to use chemicals (although dish soap has chemicals in it, unless it's some homeopathic crap) then I suggest using cinnamon, or neem oil, or both! You can also make a cinnamon extract.

    Dump some cinnamon in a jar of RO water, mix thoroughly so that none is dry (it's a bit hydrophobic).

    Put it in the microwave and bring to a boil. You're house will smell like fresh Cinnabons. Take it out and stir, or my preference, put a lid on it and shake shake shake!

    Let it sit for about 15 minutes. There will be a sticky mass that floats to the top. Skim this off and discard. Once you have done that, let the remaining liquid sit until sediment collects in the bottom. Decant the liquid, and voila! Add about a teaspoon of bleach, but ONLY if you're going to use this on pots alone. Don't apply it to the plants. Of course, adding bleach would negate the purpose of using all natural products.... Bleach will change the color of the liquid from a milky light brown to a dark clear brown.

    Or just sprinkle cinnamon liberally over your plants. It won't hurt them. Go ahead and sprinkle cayenne pepper over them (and especially the soil) liberally if you have squirrel problems. Liberally does not mean dump it on, by the way! I still highly suggest skipping the "home remedies" (except for cayenne pepper and squirrels. It really works! I wonder if pepper spray would be a more convenient method?) and buying chemical fungicides, or at least a commercially available fungicide containing neem oil. I like Schultz's 3 way fungicide/insecticide/ miticide. It has worked for me every time I have used it, with one exception where I had to buy something more heavy-duty (I can't remember what it was, but it was so thick that the spray bottle it came in would not spray properly. It was almost the consistency of pudding and I had to dilute it with water to work with it)



    OR you could do what everyone else does, and use chemicals! The best offense to fungi is a good defense, however! Plenty of light, air circulation, and regular pruning of dead plant material will not only give you nicer plants, but reduce the risk of fungi! A GREAT natural (sort of, it's been bred by man) product is Trichoderma! I love the stuff! Don't use fungicide if you use Trichoderma (or at least don't let any get in the media) and Trichoderma is a fungus. I think everyone should use this stuff, as it's also hypothesized to help the plants uptake more nutrients via their roots. I've never done any actual experiments, however. It definitely does no harm.


    I looked at your posts to try and find out where you are. Atlanta! Perfect. I see that you have a chronic problem with root fungi. That's very unusual, especially during spring and summer. That is not good at all. Remove all of the plants (now would be a PERFECT time since they haven't started actively growing yet), wash them off, including the roots and rhizomes with RO water, remove any dead tissue and only pieces of rotting petiole still attached to the rhizome, remove any dead rhizome, and spray liberally with fungicide (I suggest neem oil, I'll say why later). Throw away the media and the old container. In another post you say your media is 2/3rds sand, 1/3rd peat. While 2/1 sand/peat works great for me, I don't have the root issues you do. Try something like 1/1/1 sand/peat/perlite and see if the extra air circulation doesn't help. Don't used an undrained container, the plant's don't need it. If it's inconvenient to water everyday (especially with the drought we've been in GA for the past 5 or 6 years) the put them in a half inch of water. Let the water evaporate, and wait one or two days before refilling (unless the heat is very bad). Spray the plants according to the instructions for a week or two. Six months later, when the neem oil should have dissipated and broken down, inoculate the media with Trichoderma if you wish.

    Seems like a lot of trouble, but you said you have had chronic root problems, so that's my advice. And by the way, I hope you, your plants, and your cat are OK. I couldn't believe the hurricane. It was like a movie.

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    sounds prefectly safe to me..
    and completely useless.

    why are you getting mold in your bogs?
    with bright light and good ventilation outdoors, I dont see how mold would even be an issue..

    where are you bogs located?

    Scot

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    Terminus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    sounds prefectly safe to me..
    and completely useless.

    why are you getting mold in your bogs?
    with bright light and good ventilation outdoors, I dont see how mold would even be an issue..

    where are you bogs located?

    Scot
    They are outside on my open (metal railing) fourth floor balcony with lots of wind and sun. See photo below.

    I've had my bogs for six year (and have changed the soil). I never have this issue any other time of year, just in spring. Even cleaning off the dead material doesn't help. Some plants just invariably get root rot.

    Who knows, maybe some of the plants are weakened by the winter freezes and prone to root damage (some of the roots just turn into a light brown foam). My sprint ritual has become cleaning out the dead bogs, rinsing the roots, removing the brown and replanting in boiled soil.

    I know that several other people on the forum from Atlanta have report similar problems with fungus.

    I'm not sure if I have any issues yet this year, but I just asked this to be proactive.

    Thanks.


    This is one of my bogs from last summer. You can see it's quite happy most of the year.

  5. #5
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Atlanta freezes aren't too cold, especially since we've had very mild winters for a long time now. I live 60 miles north of you and it's not too cold here. An hour north of me, at our lake house near the GA/NC line, I grew Sarracenia straight in the ground (it's REALLY cold up there) for one year and I've never seen them grow better. They froze solid several times. The Dionaea and Drosera, on the other hand, succumbed to the freezes, and I'm not up there often enough to keep the weeds from overgrowing them so I brought them back home. Disturbing your plants yearly is not a good thing,and they won't perform as well as they could. You have to find out what's causing the fungus and eliminate it. Your water could be contaminated, flying insects, a nearby diseased plant (insects can carry spores, and your plants happen to attract insects), the media you're using could be contaminated before you ever even wet it for use (probably where it's coming from), it's definitely not normal for this to happen, regardless of your location. If spores are really being released from somewhere in Atlanta, you need to figure out what's different about Atlanta than any other metropolitan city. I really don't think it's your location, unless you and the rest of the people you say have reported problems happen to be using the same brand of contaminated sand/peat.



    Have you tried growing Sphagnum on the surface of the media? A thick, lush layer of Sphagnum could help. Get rid of the grass, too. It's blocking light.

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Terminus,
    perhaps you need to devise a drain for spring..
    perhaps allowing the bogs to drain fully every spring would help the fungus issue..
    open the bottom drain plug and flush them out with lots of water, letting water drain out the bottom..this would clean out the peat after being stagnant all winter, and would let lots of oxygen and air filter all the way down through the bog, clearing out any stagnant areas that might have gone anaerobic after a year.

    Scot

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    Neam is my favorite kills rust and bugs easy. I got it in my eyes alot in hawaii (I spareyed billions of hibiscus in a garden)and it is very safe

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