When the weather changes plants become more susceptible to attack by pests and diseases. Recognising the early signs of weather changes and using measures to safeguard against the pests that might attack plants can help in protecting and strengthening them through this vulnerable period.
Plants are more susceptible to attack by pests:
- When the temperature fluctuates from 18°C to 22°C.
- Between the harvesting of summer crop and the sowing of winter crop. At this time the pests that were on the harvested crop can migrate to the newly sown one because they have no other place to go.
- At Diwali time pests breed more readily because they travel towards the lights that are in abundance at this time.
- When there is a continuous lack of sunlight for 5-7 days either due to pollution or weather changes pests will spread more readily.
At these times keep plants clean by spraying with a soap solution – 1 ml handwash or soapnut solution in 1 litre of water.
This should be followed the next day by a lemon/ vinegar spray – 5ml vinegar or lemon juice in 1 litre of water.
At the first sign of attack either remove the affected leaf or/ and spray the plant with a neem pesticide spray.
Care should be taken in watering plants during the change in weather. It is very easy to over water plants at this time of transition from hot sunny conditions to cooler temperatures with less sunlight and wind. Over-watering at this time will cause the plant to wilt and also to be more susceptible to fungal attack.
Saplings that are being transplanted at this time can also be prone to diseases. Prepare a solution of 5 gm cinnamon powder in 1 litre of water or 2 gm cinnamon powder and 2 gm haldi ( turmeric) in 1 litre of water. Dip the roots of the saplings in this solution for 10 minutes before transplanting.