Herbs

Lovage: Detect and combat diseases and pests

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Improperly planted or insufficiently cared for lovage plants are very susceptible to diseases and pests. The most common are presented here.

© sasimoto - Fotolia.com

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) proves to be robust and resistant in the bed, as well as in the tub. The plant is rarely ailing. If, however, there are abnormalities due to illness or pests, the cause is not infrequently the result of maintenance errors. Occasionally, the plant can still be affected by the following diseases and pests:

  • Wrong mildew
  • Ramularia leaf spot
  • thrips
  • mirids

Detect and combat diseases and pests

❍ Downy mildew:

Downy mildew is rare. If the maggot herb is infested by the fungus, the leaves first turn yellow. In the further course the foliage turns brown and falls off. The leaf coloration can be explained by the lack of nutrients caused by the penetrating fungal spores. Downy mildew is favored by an ongoing humid and warm climate, which rarely occurs in our latitudes, unless you have grown lovage in the greenhouse.

What should I do?
If the plant shows the abnormalities mentioned, only a radical pruning will help. This is not a problem with this fast-growing plant. The new budding will follow soon and within a few weeks there will be nothing left to see of the deformity of the plant.

Ular Ramularia leaf spot disease:

Ramularia leaf spot disease is a fungal disease that, as the name suggests, is noticeable in leaf spots. These can have different dimensions and shapes. There are round, but also rather square spots. The light brown edges are characteristic. As the process progresses, the edges begin to form a whole, whereupon the leaves turn brown and ultimately fall off. If a white-gray fluff has formed on the spots on the undersides of the leaves, this is a clear sign of the Ramularia leaf spot disease.

Especially when the soil is low in nutrients, the disease can spread and also affect the stems of the maggot herb. Young plants appear particularly vulnerable.

What should I do?
The disease is not a serious threat. After the infected leaves have been shed, new ones form and intervention is not absolutely necessary.

❍ Thrips:

Thrips are pests only a few millimeters in size, which are also known as bladder feet. The insects have a dark brown color and long, narrow wings. The larvae are wingless and translucent yellowish white. The pests reproduce particularly well on dry and warm days. A female can lay up to 70 eggs. It only takes a month for a new generation to emerge, which in turn is eager to reproduce.

The fringed wing attacks the herb herb comparatively rarely. In order for an infestation to be recognized as quickly as possible, you must particularly check the undersides of the leaves. The leaves show discoloration and eventually fall off.

What should I do?
Thrips often show astonishing resistance to chemical agents. Natural methods seem far more effective here. So it can already help if you shower the plant every now and then with a brew of nettles (instructions for nettle stock) or garlic (instructions for garlic stock). In order to really eliminate all generations of the fringe wing, the use of suitable agents should be done over a longer period of time.

❍ Soft bugs:

Soft bugs occur on various plants. The approximately five millimeter pests are also targeting the leaves of the lovage. The insects hibernate on trees and spread to herbaceous plants in spring. An infestation is not noticed at first, it may even happen that the soft bugs have already returned to the trees until you notice significant changes in the plant.

Infested leaves appear holey and deformed. At first glance, you might think you have an infestation caused by biting pests. But only by stinging and sucking can the soft bug cause this damage. The pests do not seem to be disturbed by the intense smell and taste of the plant.

What should I do?
Chemical agents are not recommended. Most of the pests have already left the plant before the hobby gardener notices the damage. It is therefore sufficient to radically cut away infected plant parts. The plant will usually quickly recover and sprout again.

How can diseases of lovage be avoided?

Since maintenance mistakes always stress the plants and weaken them, it is advisable to follow the care instructions for lovage and to know the needs of the maggot herb. Lovage is usually quite robust and also forgives one or two maintenance mistakes. The following methods create the ideal framework for healthy growth and the avoidance of diseases and pests:

  • Provide nutrient-rich substrate (mix in compost)
  • create permeable soil (loosen with gravel or sand)
  • Prevent waterlogging (install drainage from broken shards or gravel)
  • Choose a sunny to partially shaded location
  • Note planting distance (1 m to foreign plants, 1/2 m to lovage plants)
  • Avoid drying out of the floor
  • provide sufficient nutrients (compost twice a year, regular liquid fertilizer)
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