Ugly, dark, fuzzy and devouring. No, I'm not talking about your neighbor's sorry excuse for a pet. The foe here is mold. Mold may develop on your plants for a variety of reasons. It all depends on where they are planted, the condition of the plant, how they are being taken care of, and the kind of insects are lurking around your soil.
Outside vegetation can become an easy victim for mold spores if simple steps are not taken when the planting process is being done. Sunlight and temperature has a direct effect on mold growth, because as most of us know, mold thrives in cold, damp conditions.
Therefore it is important not to block the sunlight with tall, obstructive trees such as pines and evergreens. The best place for these guys is on the north side of your home. If you really want trees on the southern and eastern sides, pick more deciduous (leafy) trees which will be bare in the winter, allowing the sun to warm your plants during the cool months.
Lastly, when deciding on locations for plant life, do not bunch them together too much. Spread them out a bit to promote drying. Gray mold thrives in crowded plantings and in areas of poor air circulation.
Plant condition and care
Some molds, like the botrytis blight (aka gray mold), take advantage of plants in their weaker states. They will devour debris or weak plant tissue, such as old flowers, leaves and overripe fruit.
To combat this, there are a few things you can do. The first is to gather the faded flower blossoms and fallen petals and throw them away. In the vegetable garden, uproot plants that have been infected by the mold immediately after harvest. Additionally you should get rid of plant tissues that are stressed, aging or inactive.
One mistake some plant owners make is to dump the water over the top of the plant. You should actually avoid watering the leaves since the splashing combined with wind can spread mold spores. Instead, directly water the soil close to its surface.
Appropriate maintenance is key to growing plants that won't be victim to mold growth. The general rule of the green thumb is "just enough". Too little or too much water, fertilizer and other substances will weaken your plant. If you properly fertilize, irrigate and prune your vegetation, you should have no problem having a mold-free garden or houseplant. This is, unless, you have little vampires who have other plans.
Insects and insect control
There are many pests which are just waiting to feed off of your plants. These may include:
What these guys do, is leave behind a honeydew secretion which will turn into a sooty mold. This will then spread, surely causing a panic in any inexperienced gardener. Do not fret, however, because there are things you can do, depending on your particular situation.
The first thing you can do to try and combat these foes is to get rid of them. Every insect has a weakness. Whiteflies, for example, are attracted to the color yellow. Now you can cut down on yellow plants, make yellow whitefly traps with paper and an adhesive, use earthworm casings, spray garlic water or use neem oil. All are said to work, especially the earthworm casings. Whatever your specific pest is, research what their weak spots are and exploit them.
Now you have a guide to promoting plant life that excludes the growth of mold. If your problem persists, seek out a professional. However, using these tips should make you see a great improvement in your garden.