Is botrytis a mushroom

Botrytis: recognize, prevent & fight gray mold

Botrytis cinerea is one of the most common plant-damaging fungi. We introduce the annoying fungus and show how to fight it successfully.

Who does not know it, the gray mold on the beloved strawberries? This is mostly from Botrytis cinerea caused, the gray mold. With a little knowledge of the fungus, you can prevent or control the infestation. We'll show you how to do this so that you can enjoy your plants for a long time.

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The mushroom Botrytis cinerea is a wound and weakness parasite and is extremely adaptable, so it has a strong tendency to develop resistance. It is one of the most difficult pathogens to control and can cause concern on various plants in our garden.

Botrytis cinerea: The life cycle

This mushroom belongs to the class of ashlar mushrooms (Ascomycetes) and has a large number of host plants. This class owes its name to the shape of its reproductive organs. The hose mushrooms comprise 45,000 different species and are therefore the largest and most important group among the real mushrooms. To the Ascomycetes also include the apple scab (Venturia inaequalis), Ergot (Secale cornutum) or the brush mold (Penicillium), which is known from the production of antibiotics.

The conidia (asexual fungal spores) form in the rotting areas. The conidia of the gray mold are spread by the wind or spray water and thus infect new plant tissue. The infection occurs with persistent moisture. The infection then spreads through the fruit and the plant. You can then observe the familiar gray mold lawn on strawberries. However, the fruits can also be infected directly.

The fungus overwinters on organic material and in spring it starts developing again. Sclerotia are formed as a permanent form, but the fungus can also overwinter as a mycelium on dead plant parts. Sclerotia are hard permanent forms of mushrooms that are very resistant to drought or cold, which means that mushrooms can remain in a dormant state for a long time until optimal conditions are restored for them. The development is started by the damp conditions in spring and with it the growth of the fungus begins again and with it the formation of new spores.

The development cycle of the gray mold at a glance:

  • In the soil there are sclerotia that can survive there for a long time.
  • The fungus can also survive as a mycelium on organic material.
  • It is from these sources that the spores spread and infect our plants.
  • It is spread by the wind or splashing water.
  • A gray fungal lawn forms on the plants, on which spores also form.
  • Humidity and temperatures between 20 and 28 ° C are ideal for gray mold.

Botrytis cinerea: Recognize the damage

As its name suggests, a flat, mouse-gray fungal lawn forms when it is infested with gray mold. This mushroom lawn has a habit of being heavily dusted. The tissue of the plants dies and brown spots also form on leaves and fruits. The fruits look rather glassy at the beginning. So-called ghost spots can appear on tomatoes. This creates a bright center and around this center, with a little distance, a bright ring.

The fungus can appear on all parts of the plant, soft fruits and flowers are particularly likely to be attacked, but shoots and woody parts can also come into contact with gray mold.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and lettuce are particularly susceptible crops. When it comes to berries, the gray mold is particularly interested in strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries and does not stop at our ornamental plants. Roses, tulips, rhododendrons and hydrangeas are just a few of the affected ornamental plants in our gardens.

Botrytis fight successfully and drive away gray mold

There are different approaches to combating gray mold. Here we show you tips and tricks for prevention and various control measures.

Botrytis cinerea fight: Suitable sprays

The chemical fight against Botrytis cinerea is a bit problematic. This fungus is extremely adaptable and can develop resistance very quickly. Therefore, you should first apply our preventive and natural control measures before resorting to chemical control. Studies on raspberries from northern Germany show that 100% resistance can develop after just five years.

If you don't see a way out, the following active ingredients can promise success:

  • Trifloxystrobin
  • Cyprodinil
  • Fludioxonil
  • Soil fungus Gliocladium catenulatum

Caution is always advised when using pesticides. Always follow the instructions for use, especially the information on personal safety and dosage.

Botrytis cinerea combat: natural measures

Some methods against gray mold have also proven themselves in the natural way. On the one hand, the use of various manure and teas for control and prevention should be mentioned here, since many of these remedies are plant tonic. Healthy and strong plants are not affected by diseases as quickly as plants in a weakened state.

For example, horsetail broth can be sprayed on for strengthening. In the case of strawberries, the roots are dipped in horsetail broth before planting, later growth is supported with diluted nettle manure and the plants are defoliated a little if the crop is very dense. Here you can find out more about the horsetail broth and nettle manure.

But it is important that you look for a new location for the strawberries after three years at the latest. Since the flowers of the strawberries are attacked, they can be dusted with rock flour to reduce the attack. The rock flour can also be applied to the soil as fertilizer - especially on acidic soils as a soil improvement. But you shouldn't overdo it with fertilization. A lot of nitrogen can be beneficial for fungal infections, so use it sparingly.

Botrytis clever prevention

Since the fungus survives the winter on organic material, we already have the first point of attack. Remove dead plant parts, these are full of spores and thus only infect more plants. It is important to have as few sources of infection in the garden as possible.

Dealing with moisture, which moisture favors, is also particularly important Botrytis. Therefore, the planting distance between your plants should not be too close. A greater distance promotes good air circulation and promotes faster drying. Varieties that develop smaller leaves also help here, as they dry off faster.

You should also pay special attention to your casting practice. Do not water from above; this will moisten the whole plant and create optimal conditions for a fungal infection. Therefore, it is best to water the plants where they really need moisture - namely on the ground. If you work with irrigation systems, rely on drip irrigation.

With strawberries, you should be careful when using straw. Of course it is useful if the strawberries are not full of soil, but you should not spread the straw around the strawberry plants from the start. It is enough if you spread it on the ground shortly before or during flowering. Unfortunately there is no against Botrytis resistant strawberry varieties.

Make sure you have a crop rotation in your garden and regularly change the location of your ornamental plants. In the vegetable patch, a mixed culture with garlic or onions can have a preventive effect. The mustard oils in these plants work against the fungus. You can also leave the harvest residues of the garlic and onions in the garden and put them in the ground. The mustard oils are effective against various pathogens and pests.

If you own a glass house, you should make sure that the humidity is not too high and that no dew forms on the leaves. Regular ventilation or the use of automatic window regulators is particularly important.

A special storage tip: Chill harvested fruits, especially berries, quickly to 0 to 3 ° C. This means that they stay fresh even longer, otherwise potentially infected fruits could cover your entire harvest with the gray lawn of mold. Also try to handle the fruit as little as possible and not to damage it.

Botrytis prevent: once again briefly summarized

  • Remove infected and dead plant parts
  • Larger plant spacing
  • Do not pour from above but close to the ground
  • Do not lay the straw on the ground until the strawberry blossom
  • Crop rotation and relocation
  • Mixed culture with garlic

tip: To strengthen the plants that are most susceptible to botrytis and make them more resistant, we recommend our Plantura organic tomato fertilizer. This is ideal for vegetables and berries and has a high potassium content.

Plantura organic tomato fertilizer
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Kathi

I study phytomedicine in Vienna and grew up on a farm. The diversity of nature has been with me all my life: from the large vegetable garden to our pasture areas. I am particularly interested in topics related to crop protection.
Favorite fruit: strawberry
Favorite vegetable: tomato