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OKC Beautiful: Be on the lookout for fungal diseases

Carla Sharpe: Wind carried fungal diseases can damage your garden. Tips for combating the problem.
By Carla Sharpe, For The Oklahoman Published: May 6, 2013

Spring flowers and shrubs can be so beautiful — but as Loretta Aaron, one of Oklahoma City's best gardeners, always said in spring: “Do not become complacent. We now have warm days and humid nights, following showers.” Those ingredients can lead to fungal diseases in the garden. Here are Loretta's tips on how to combat diseases on two garden favorites: roses and crape myrtles.


The bane of rose growers is black spot, a disfiguring and damaging disease. If you had the problem last year and your roses went into winter with diseased foliage, you can be sure it will be just a matter of time until you notice the foliage is yellow, with black spots, and is falling to the ground. Your roses may have gone into the winter with healthy foliage; however, you could still have a problem. The fungi are also wind-borne, and we have certainly had wind lately.

If you have not started a preventive program, do so immediately. Control is easier than cure. Apply a fungicide weekly, more often if it rains for days on end. Drench plants thoroughly and even direct the spray material on the soil around the plants to kill spores living in the soil from diseased foliage dropped last fall. A light application of sulfur on the soil around the plants is also beneficial because this is a fungicide, and it will kill the spores. After spring rains cease, days become hot, and humidity drops, it will not be necessary to spray your roses with fungicide as often.

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Beautiful Things Happening in OKC

Thursday: Making Oklahoma City Beautiful Young Professionals will hold a cooking class with Kamala Gamble. Gamble will use fresh produce from her garden to teach several organic recipes. The class is $20 per person.

May 21: Making Oklahoma City Beautiful Young Professionals will take a boat ride on the Oklahoma River from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres.

Go to for more information.

About OKC Beautiful

OKC Beautiful is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the image and appearance of Oklahoma City. OKC Beautiful provides programs that create clean and beautiful public spaces, reduce waste by increasing recycling and foster the next generation of environmental leaders. For more information, follow OKC Beautiful at, on Facebook at, or go to


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