Researching yesterday’s post on bacterial blight, I was astounded at the number of diseases caused by Pseudomonas. Pseudomonas [soo-doh-MO-nas] is a genus of bacteria that most of us gardeners end up fighting.
These bacteria are commonly found in plant debris, soil, and water. They also hide out in many dicot seeds. But don’t worry, Pseudomonas only infects plants with leaves and stems. The rest of your garden is safe. *wink*
Pseudomonas plant pathogens
To date, more than 500 strains of Pseudomonas have been sequenced. Here is a list of the most common bacterial diseases caused by Pseudomonas:
In nearly all of these diseases, small dark spots appear and expand into odd-shaped dead areas. It’s all downhill from there.
These are some tough SOBs. These bacteria have evolved to survive rugged conditions. Their cell walls are equipped with pumps that eject antibiotics and other unwanted materials before they can do anything, so chemicals are often ineffective. Because of this, prevention is your best management tool. Most importantly, be sure to space plants far enough apart so they dry off rapidly. And avoid overhead watering.
Pseudomonas isn’t all bad
As handy as it would be to say that all Pseudomonas are bad, it ends up that some of these soil bacteria help plants stay healthy. In fact, they practically make life possible on Earth. Life sure is messy, isn’t it?
Some Pseudomonas protect plant roots against disease-causing Fusarium fungi and Pythium oomycetes. They also protect against plant-eating nematodes. And other strains help activate disease resistance within wheat and other cereal crops. Some Pseudomonas can metabolize pollutants and are used in bioremediation.
Finally, Pseudomonas is also responsible for the formation of most of the snowflakes and raindrops that fall on Earth.
Now you know.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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