Sunflowers: Identifying and fighting diseases and pests

Sunflowers: Identifying and fighting diseases and pests


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Due to their striking appearance, sunflowers are among the most popular plants. Unfortunately, various diseases and pests can affect the appearance.

Sunflowers can also be affected by pests and diseases. The sunflower is a very robust and insensitive plant. If she gets too little water despite the continued heat, she leaves the leaves hanging - a clear sign that you have to water. Afterwards, the plant recovers very quickly.

It is different with the various diseases and pests from which the sunflower can be infected. It is often fungi that damage the plant. In this article we explain how to discover pests and diseases in your sunflowers and which treatment is suitable.

Pests on sunflowers

Sunflowers are less likely to be infected by pests than by diseases. The pests are the typical animals:

  • lice
  • bugs
  • leafminer
  • tracked

You can usually identify the pests by feeding spots or deformed leaves. The animals rarely damage the plant to such an extent that they die, but the feeding spots harbor another danger: the sunflower is weakened, so that fungi can spread much more easily.

You can remove caterpillars or individual lice by removing them with your fingers. You can also use a simple household remedy to combat a small amount of lice: put a little washing-up liquid and water in a spray bottle and spray the affected areas.

Of course, you can also use pesticides to kill pests and prevent further damage to the plant. If your sunflower forms kernels, you must pay attention to a special spray that does not damage the kernels or leaves harmful poisons.

It is better not to eat the sunflower seeds of plants treated with sprays.

The most common diseases of the sunflower

As mentioned at the beginning, fungi infest sunflowers particularly often. The diseases often occur where the plant has already suffered damage from pests or the weather.

In the case of fungal diseases, the root or the stem of the plant is usually attacked:

Pythium

If waterlogging occurs in the root area or if the soil is very rich in salt, this fungus can spread. It causes the roots to die.

»Combat:
The best treatment is to drain the root immediately and reduce the salt content in the soil.

Wurzelhalsfäule

The fungus occurs at the transition from the stem to the root. Fungus growth requires a high level of humidity and spreads very quickly.

»Combat:
Special mushroom agents (such as this one here) from the trade can protect the sunflower and mitigate the fungal attack.

Sclerotinia

This fungus affects the roots and sprouts. The fungus looks hairy and forms distinct lichen.

»Combat:
Without treatment with fungal agents, the plant dies.

Fusarium

This fungus is tricky because it infects the plant through the roots, but continues to spread through the vascular pathways. The sunflower is wilting.

»Combat:
There is no remedy for this fungus.

There are also fungi that do not specifically attack the roots, but the leaves:

Alternaria

It is characterized by grayish-brown spots on the leaves, on which a black coating of fungal spores forms.

»Combat:
Fungi control the fungus very reliably.

Powdery mildew

Between May and August, powdery mildew is common. A white mushroom lawn forms on the leaves.

»Combat:
The disease can be treated with a fungal agent.

Wrong mildew

In contrast to powdery mildew, which forms white turf on the leaf surface, this fungus grows on the underside of the leaves and has a gray or purple color.

»Combat:
Fungi control the fungus.

To combat fungi, it is not only necessary to treat the disease itself, but to eliminate the cause of the infestation. Infestation often occurs due to high humidity or waterlogging. Sunflowers that are very close together or that are restricted by other plants are prone to fungal diseases. If this is the case for you, you should implement the sunflowers.