How to Prevent Soilborne Disease

By eHow Contributing Writer

While some plant diseases are spread by insects and pests, many of them spread through the soil. Gardeners can greatly reduce the occurrence of soilborne disease in their crops by being alert to their development, staying aware of how they spread and following basic sanitary practices.


  1. Step 1

    Mulch. Dry straw is one example of an easy to handle mulch. Once it's applied around the base of your plants it helps to retain moisture so that you need to water less often, plus it'll help keep soil that might bear diseases from splashing onto the leaves of your plants. You can also reduce the likelihood of leaf-splash by watering from the bottom of your plant, not the top.

  2. Step 2

    Rotate crops, especially potatoes and other nightshade plants. Depending on the plant most can be grown in one place for one, two or three years before being moved. Avoid planting plants from the same family as the previous tenant in that place until the same amount of time has passed; but plants from other species can be planted safely and will help to replenish the soil.

  3. Step 3

    Clean tools and boots between uses as you move from one area of your garden to another. This is especially important if soilborne disease has appeared in some part of your garden.

  4. Step 4

    Drain excess water--if your beds are not draining well it is worth undertaking major reconstruction to ensure that they will; this goes a long way toward preventing disease.

  5. Step 5

    Leave dirt where it is--also leave organic matter from dead plants so long as it's healthy and free of disease. This will help to diversify the microbial life in the soil, making it more disease resistant.


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