11 Garlic Plant Pests and Diseases That Can Ruin Your Crop

Since garlic is a smelly plant, it is easy to assume that there are no pests and diseases that attack it, but this is wrong.

Garlic is often used as a pest deterrent in the garden when planted as a companion plant. But some pests think garlic is delicious and seem to be resistant to the pungent odor – or even like it. Diseases including fungal diseases also plague garlic plants.

Let’s take a look at some of the pests and diseases you need to know when growing garlic in your garden.

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5 Garlic Plant Pests

Although many insects will avoid garlic like the plague, some can’t wait to bite it. Here are the most common garlic pests.

1. Bulb Mites

Bulb mites are one of the most common garlic plant pests you will encounter. They cause stunted plant growth, and bulbs rot in the ground or in storage. Bulb particles are tiny, less than a millimeter in length; Some people say that they look like little pearls on the feet.

Not only do bulb mites cause problems, but the damage it causes leaves the plants open to secondary attacks by other pathogens. Keeping garden beds fallow helps reduce mite populations, and you can try treating garlic seed cloves with warm water before planting.

2. Leafminers

Leafminers cause thin, curved paths on leaves, and heavy damage leaves behind white spots. Leaves may drop from the plant prematurely.

Adult leaf miners look like a small, black and yellow fly, and they lay eggs on leaves. Then, the larvae hatch and begin feeding on the interior of the leaves. Over time, mature larvae drop into the soil to pupate from the plant. Leafminers take two weeks to complete their life cycle, and these pests can produce up to 10 generations per year.

If you think you have had leafminer damage in your garden, take a look at our guide to leafminers and how to control them in your garden.

3. Lesion Nematodes

Nematodes are one of the most difficult pests to deal with in your garden. They cause stunted growth and round or irregular lesions on the roots. These pests have a wide range of hosts, and they enter your plant through the roots.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to get rid of wound nematodes in the garden. Treating your garlic bulbs in hot water can help control them, but this is your only option. Crop rotation is also not effective.

To treat the bulbs, cook them in 100°F water for 30 minutes. Do not let the water get too hot or the bulbs will not germinate.

4. Onion Maggots

Onion maggots are a frustrating pest that infects garlic plants, causing stunted shoots or wilting. Plants often break off at the soil line if you try to pull them out of the ground. Bulbs are usually deformed and susceptible to storage damage.

One problem with onion maggots is that females can lay many hundreds of eggs with lifespans of two to four weeks, and the insects can overwinter as pupae in the soil.

A big part of managing onion worms is practicing good hygiene in your garden. Make sure you always remove all onion bulbs in your garden at the end of the season as onion bugs will use them as a food source. Granular insecticides can be applied to the soil to take care of these pests.

Another good idea is to put a floating row cover in early spring to protect your plants. This helps prevent females from laying eggs on your garlic plants.

5. Thrips

Two different types of thrips will infect your garlic plants: onion thrips and western flower thrips. Both these pests cause discoloration, discoloration of tissues and scarring of leaves. If thrips cause a serious infestation, you may notice a silvery color on your plant.

Thrips are small, about 1.5 mm in length, and difficult to see with the naked eye. Adults are yellow to light brown in color, while nymphs are smaller and lighter in colour.

Leaving natural enemies in your garden is one way to control thrips on your garlic plants. Try leaving predatory mites, pirate bugs, or lacewings in your garden. Then, read our guide on thrips in the garden.

6 Garlic Plant Diseases

While the list of diseases that can infect garlic plants is not long, gardeners still need to know that these plants are not immune. Keep an eye out for these diseases that can destroy your garlic.

1. Botrytis Neck Rot

Botrytis neck rot causes major damage to garlic plants. In spring or early summer, you may see water-soaked neck rot at the soil line and, over time, the fungus grows to the bulb and begins to attack the inner axis.

When you cure the garlic, the outer shell will scorch, and the inner shell will turn brown or black. This fungus lives in almost all soils and thrives in some climates, especially cool and wet conditions.

If you end up with botrytis neck rot in your garden, you need to remove diseased plants. In the future, make sure you have adequate air circulation between your plants. You can also use preventive measures such as avoiding too much mulch and irrigation, but the disease is nearly impossible to get rid of.

Do not plant garlic where you have planted it before.

2. Downy mildew

Downy mildew is a common fungal disease that infects all types of plants, including garlic. This causes yellow spots or tall spots on the leaves of the plant, and you will eventually see gray-purple fuzzy growths on the leaf surface. As time passes, the tips of the leaves die off.

Downy mildew is most common when leaves are wet when temperatures are cooler. Appropriate fungicide can take care of this disease. Take a look at our guide to reducing mildew in the garden.

3. Garlic Mosaic Virus

Just as humans can, plants can contract the virus. Garlic mosaic virus causes a mosaic pattern on the leaves or you may see spots or streaks. This stunts plant growth and reduces bulb size.

Garlic mosaic virus is spread by aphids, and sometimes, the virus causes no symptoms in your plants. Since it is a viral disease, there is no cure for it. All you can do is plant virus-free garlic buds and control the aphid population in your garlic.

4. Purple Spot

Purple spot is another common fungus that infects garlic plants. One of the first symptoms you’ll notice are small, water-soaked sores on the leaves or stalks. Over time, those lesions enlarge and become brown or purple in color. The sores can clump together and kill the tissue.

When moisture levels are high at night, purple bots appear on wet foliage. Crop rotation is one way to prevent the development of this fungal infection, as well as to ensure that the soil has proper drainage. Few fungicides control this disease, but you should rotate the types of fungicide you use for optimal control.

5. Rust

With rust, you may see small, white spots on leaves and stems that develop into a circular or elongated bark. If rust becomes a serious problem, it will kill the entire garlic plant.

Some suitable protective fungicide can be used to help with the rust. Learn more about rust on your plants.

6. White Rot

White or sclerotium rot is a fungal disease that causes the older leaves on your garlic plants to turn yellow at first. This also stops growth, and over time, all the leaves will die. You’ll find a white growth at the base of the bulbs.

White rot is a serious problem; This makes the area unusable for garlic production for years. It lives in soil for up to 20 years, and white rot is highly damaging to all allium crops.

Unfortunately, fungicide treatments are not always effective in treating white rot. Using a longer crop rotation helps, and you can use an appropriate fungicide if available. Control usually depends on using cultural methods and effective gardening techniques.

This means buying certified clean bulbs and/or submerging the cloves in water heated to 115°F.

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