The bacteria that attack landscape plants are carried to those plants in flowing or splashing water or in transported soil. They can enter a plant through wounds or through the tiny natural openings in the epidermis. Once inside, bacteria travel short distances in the sap of the plant.
Symptoms of Bacterial Diseases
Disease bacteria are microscopic organisms that cause trouble when they reside in landscape plants. Pathogenic bacteria operate in a number of harmful ways. The bacteria that cause rots release an enzyme that dissolves cell walls in leaves, stems, and tubers. Wilts are caused by bacteria that block a plant's vascular system.
The following symptoms may indicate a bacterial disease of some kind:
Rotted leaves, stems, branches, or tubers.
Control of Bacterial Diseases
Bacterial diseases cannot be cured. Infected plants must be immediately removed from the yard or garden. All the affected plants must be removed to the trash can, even if they have only slight symptoms of a bacterial disease. Do not place diseased plants in your compost pile, even if you maintain an active pile that heats up.
To prevent the spread of a bacterial disease, clean your pruning tools after cutting a diseased plant. There are a number of disinfectants used by professional landscape gardeners. Isopropyl (rubbing ) alcohol is an excellent disinfectant for grafting and pruning tools, to prevent the spread of plant diseases. Or you can use a disinfectant spray such as Lysol. It is effective and easy to use. Pruners can be give a spritz between cuts. Some professionals use a bleach solution made up of one part common household bleach and four parts water. After disinfecting your tools, coat them with oil to avoid any rusting. Wash your hands after handling infected plants, not because they are dangerous to you, but because you can transmit the disease to healthy plants.