Last updated: June 14, 2021

What Does Fungicide Mean?

A fungicide is a substance, often a chemical, that is used to kill fungi, fungal spores, and fungal infections. There are both natural fungicides and synthetic fungicides available.

In general, commercial fungicides, which are usually synthetic, are commonly used in horticulture in order to kill fungal pathogens that have infected plants such as powdery mildew and bud rot.


Maximum Yield Explains Fungicide

Fungal pathogens are the No. 1 cause of crop loss around the world and can cause serious damage in agriculture, resulting in critical losses of yield, quality, and profit in both plants and animals.

Fungicides control the various fungal diseases by specifically killing or inhibiting the fungus causing the diseases. However, not all diseases are caused by fungi and so they cannot be controlled by fungicides all the time. Some diseases, such as fusarium and verticillium wilt, insect damage, and disorders caused by abiotic factors, cannot be controlled by fungicides. Thus, it is essential to first determine the cause of the symptoms before applying a fungicide.

Fungicides can either be contact, trans-laminar, or systemic. While contact fungicides are not taken up into plant tissue and only protect the spot where the plant is sprayed, trans-laminar fungicides redistribute the fungicide from the upper, sprayed leaf surface to the lower, unsprayed surface, and the systemic fungicides are taken up and redistributed through the xylem vessels. Few fungicides move to all parts of a plant as some are locally systemic and some move upwardly.

In organic gardening, fungi are often treated by washing plants with a light, soapy solution, but this gentle approach is not practical for commercial agriculture. For this reason, commercial growers almost always choose to use a fungicide.

Fungicides are mostly sold in a liquid form at retail. Sulfur is the most common active element used in fungicides and is present at 0.08% in weaker concentrates and as high as 0.5% for more potent fungicides. Meanwhile, sulfur is much more toxic in fungicides in powdered form.

There are fungicides like vinclozolin and ziram that have been prohibited for use due to their toxic effects on humans.

In cannabis cultivation, growers usually opt for organic solutions as chemical fungicides can be harmful to human health. Many people look for cannabis that has been grown in a fungicide-free environment, using things like potassium bicarbonate, hydrogen peroxide, and copper sulfate mixed with lime. Bacillus subtilis, a strain of bacteria that fights mildew and gray mold without affecting plants, is also commonly used as a fungicide in marijuana growrooms.


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