How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Anthracnose

How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Anthracnose


A Diverse Fungal Disease Affecting Trees, Roses, and Garden Crops

Markus Keller / Getty Images

Brown or black lesions on leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, and other plant parts may be symptoms of anthracnose. But not all anthracnose is created equal. The term anthracnose refers to a group of fungal diseases that can affect a wide range of plant species, trees as well as shrubs, both ornamentals and edibles, and also garden crops. While the symptoms are similar, the fungi that cause the disease are different from host to host.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of anthracnose.

Anthracnose on Deciduous Trees

Shade trees commonly affected by anthracnose are ash, dogwood, elm, hickory, maple, oak, sycamore, and walnut. The fungi that cause it, mostly from the family Gnomoniaceae, vary depending on the tree species.

Anthracnose can affect the buds of a tree early in the season before it has grown any leaves. When the buds or the tips of twigs die as a result, it might look like frost injury, which can make it tricky to diagnose anthracnose at this stage.

The symptoms of anthracnose are easier to identify once the tree has leafed out. You’ll notice small, circular or irregularly shaped dark or brown dead spots on the leaves, dead leaf margins and tips, and large dead blotches along the leaf veins or in-between the veins.

When the tree is heavily infected early in the season, the leaves may be distorted, shrivel and fall off prematurely. Sometimes the foliage regrows after defoliation. Other symptoms are girdled dead twigs with areas of sunken bark.

To determine whether it’s anthracnose, take a look at the underside of infected leaves with a magnifying glass. You’ll see fungal fruiting structures that protrude like pimples, especially along the leaf veins. There are similar fruiting structures at the tips of dead twigs.

Anthracnose overwinters in infected branches, twigs, and leaves. In the spring, wind carries the pathogens to young leaves and twigs, where it forms new spores. These spores then move by wind or water, splashing to neighboring foliage, infecting it and thus continuing the disease cycle.

Cool spring weather with temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees F is especially conducive to spreading the disease.

Anthracnose on Roses

Sphaceloma rosarum, the fungus that causes anthracnose on roses, is different from the fungi causing tree anthracnose.

A characteristic symptom of the disease are small, reddish-purple spots or lesions on the leaf veins. As time passes, the spots develop thin brown margins. Then they turn gray and the tissue disintegrates, leaving tiny bullet-like holes in the leaves. The leaves also turn yellow, wither, and eventually fall off.

To distinguish anthracnose from black spot, another rose disease that causes defoliation, take a close look at those lesions. Those caused by anthracnose have distinct edges whereas the lesions from black spot have irregular fuzzy edges.

In addition to the leaves, rose canes and stems can also be affected. The fungus produces cankers that girdle the stem, literally choking it to death. Dieback usually starts at the tips of the stems and moves towards the center of the plant.

Climbing roses, wild, and rambler roses, as well as some hybrids and shrubs are reported to be more susceptible to anthracnose.

How to Control Anthracnose on Trees and Roses

The good news is that even when a tree or a rose is severely infected with anthracnose, it will not kill it. But keep in mind that it weakens it and makes it more susceptible to other diseases, frost injury, environmental stress such as drought and extreme temperatures, and insect damage. For these reasons, it is important to control the disease early.

Keep a close eye on your roses. As anthracnose progresses and the lesions turn into those tiny bullet holes, they are easily mistaken for insect damage and possibly treated improperly.

Good sanitation is, as usual, your first line of defense. In the fall, rake and safely destroy all fallen leaves from infected trees and roses. This way the anthracnose spores won’t have a place to overwinter. Remove any infected twigs and cankers and disinfect any tools with a 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) between making the cuts to prevent the fungus from spreading onto the same tree, or onto other trees.

Tool sanitation is especially important when you grow roses for cut flowers so make sure you disinfect your tools when moving from one rose to another to prevent the disease from spreading. Safely dispose of any infected plant parts by burning them or throwing them in the trash.

Fungicides with chlorothalonil and copper may be used as a preventative. For trees they are only recommended when the infection is severe and recurs every year, resulting in a lot of twig dieback. The fungicide must be applied to the tree at bud break in early spring and repeated weekly or biweekly until the daily average temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees F. Roses may also be treated with fungicides containing copper, sulfur, or chlorothalonil. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for frequency and dosage.

As all fungi, anthracnose thrives in humid conditions. While you cannot change the weather, you can ensure good air circulation by leaving ample space between your rose plants, as well as by regular and proper pruning. Both are ways that help the foliage to dry quicker from dew and rainfall. Also, when watering, water only the roots and avoid getting the foliage wet in order to decrease the chance of the fungus spreading.

Anthracnose on Edibles

Anthracnose can also befall garden crops, small fruits, and tropical fruit trees, all of which can considerably decimate the harvest.

Anthracnose on tomatoes, eggplant and peppers is caused by species of the Colletotrichum fungus, most commonly Colletotrichum coccodes.

Tomato anthracnose occurs mainly on overripe fruit. The tomatoes show small, circular, sunken spots, often in concentric rings. As the spots grow larger, they cluster together to form large blotches, which often start to ooze.

Cucumbers, watermelons, certain melons such as honeydew, and sometimes pumpkins can also get anthracnose. In members of the cucumber family it is caused yet by another fungus, Colletotrichum orbiculare.

The fungus can affect the leaves, stems, petioles and fruit of cucurbitae. The symptoms vary and often resemble other foliar diseases such as leaf blight, leaf spot, downy mildew and powdery mildew, which can make it difficult to diagnose. The name of the disease – anthracnose means «coal disease» – can give you clues what to look for: dark spots on leaves, leaf stalks, stems and fruit, oftentimes sunken, that later coalesce.

The symptoms of anthracnose in grapes, caused by the fungus Elsinoe ampelina, start as small, circular reddish spots and can appear on all parts of the plant but are most common on young shoots and grapes. Later these spots develop into sunken lesions that grow together.

Anthracnose on black, purple and red raspberries as well as blackberries, is caused by the fungus Elsinoe veneta. Like in grapes it starts with small, often sunken reddish spots that gradually coalesce and turn grey in the center, which also earned the disease the nickname “gray bark.” The disease results in stunted deformed berries, and the canes often die.

Tropical fruit trees such as mango isn’t spared by anthracnose neither. The fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides can affect mango, banana, avocado, papaya, and passion fruit.

The pattern of the disease on mango is similar to anthracnose on other plants. It all begins with the typical small spots that coalesce to larger lesions which then become dead areas on fruits, leaves and flowers. If the fruits don’t drop off before ripening, they have large dark spots that go beyond the surface and lead to rotting of the entire fruit.

How to Control Anthracnose on Edibles

Similar to ornamental trees and roses, the best way to deal with anthracnose on edibles is control and prevention following good gardening practices.

Start out with healthy seeds, seedlings, and plants from a certified reliable source.

As part of a yearly crop rotation in your garden, don’t plant any members of the same crop family, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes, or cucumbers, melons, watermelons, squash and pumpkin, in the same location for at least two years in a row.

Anthracnose spreads well in humid conditions and moisture so avoid overhead watering and provide good air circulation within the plants and in-between through proper plant spacing, regular weeding, and pruning.

In the fall remove and safely discard any diseased plant material and debris from the garden, around berry and grape plants and fruit trees, making it less likely for the fungus to overwinter.

Because anthracnose has so many different forms depending on the underlying fungus and the host plant, it is best to take a sample of an infected edible plant part to your local Extension Office for a proper diagnosis.

How do you guys deal with fruit flies? My starter is like a beacon that draws them and because it’s not completely airtight one occasionally finds its way (gross!) They don’t even want fruit anymore, they just want my sourdough

How do you guys deal with fruit flies? My starter is like a beacon that draws them and because it’s not completely airtight one occasionally finds its way (gross!) They don’t even want fruit anymore, they just want my sourdough

Try a scrap of cloth and a rubber band as the “lid” — it can still breath but flies can’t get it. Then put your fly trap right next to your starter

That’s a good idea. I’m using an ikea jar but the lid doesn’t make a good seal. Fabric might be better

Never had this happen. How long have you been keeping the starter?

I started it years ago and then dried it out. Reconstituted at the end of February.

Fruit flies LOVE starter. It’s like crack for them. Unfortunately there’s no fool proof way of getting rid of them. You have to move the starter away from the area, especially if there’s fruit around. There’s many ways to remove infestations on the web, I find putting cups with super ripe bananas inside and then sealing the top with saran wrap and poking holes in it with toothpicks works best.

I tried that with a paper cone to seal it and ended up with a fruit fly colony and a banana peel in a jar. I’ll have to do it with Saran Wrap

Just keep your starter covered. I’ve never had an issue with fruit flies because my starter stays covered up.

Fruit flies are attracted to vinegar. Feed your sour dough starter more often. It creates more vinegar when it’s hungry.

Somehow I didn’t know that. I guess that why it is potent enough to singe nose hair when I take it out of the fridge sometimes XD

Put some cider vinegar in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a pencil size hole in it. Fruit fly trap. Place it wherever the flies are.

My issue is that they like my starter more than the vinegar. Maybe I’ll mix a little starter in with the vinegar and see if that works

What is the deal with Fruit?

What is the deal with Fruit?

I’ve been reading up on what the best things to eat are for my GD, but there are so many different opinions on fruit — some places say eat as much as you want, others say avoid as much as possible, while others say not in the morning. my doctor is kind of useless. I will speak to her about it again but a previous post of mine made me realize she is not a great source of advice! (may need new doc) I was once told that «any diet that limits fruit and vegetables is not the right diet», but I’m thinking with GD it could be different. Any info is appreciated, Thanks!

You should see a nutritionist.

With GD your body can’t use sugar efficiently. Fruit has a lot of natural sugar (fructose). Generally fruit is seen as healthy but because it converts to high levels of sugar excess amounts can be dangerous to your baby.

In the morning it is harder for your body to use the fructose efficiently and often results in high sugar levels which is what should be avoided. This gets better throughout the day.

Fruits that contain lower amounts of carbohydrates should be eaten over the high carbohydrate fruits so as not to raise your sugar levels too high.

They say not to drink fruit juice because that’s multiple fruits packed into a drink.

There is nothing else you can’t eat. You just need to figure out what works for you so that you can get all your nutrients without increasing your sugar levels too high. Different foods consumed at different points in the day may impact you differently. It also changes based on what else you eat with it.

Give it a try and see what happens. Depending on how much insulin resistance you’re experiencing you may fall anywhere on the fruit spectrum.

I did fine with fruit as long as it was paired with protein and wasn’t for breakfast. An apple with peanut butter was one of my go-to afternoon snacks.

I don’t know the specifics, but bananas set me WAY over. So be careful with those, and try to pair with protein and go for walk afterwards 🙂 You will just have to play around to find what your triggers are.

Blah blah it’s complicated: Glycemic index and glycemic load. There’s a chart in this article:

Basically, some fruits impact blood sugars more than others. Fruits that are high on the glycemic index (bananas, grapes) will spike blood sugar more than fruits lower on the index (berries, apples). YYMV, but I couldn’t eat grapes/bananas AT ALL while managing GD, though some people seem to be able to if coupling the fruit with a serving of protein.

Some guidelines are:

*No fruit juice: it’s too easily absorbed as sugar plus you don’t get the beneficial fiber

*Avoid fruit with breakfast: your metabolism reacts more to sugars in the am (I was ok with a serving of berries w/ 1 serving oatmeal in am)

*Eat a serving of protein w/ fruit as this will help slow how your body absorbs the sugar: so almonds/cheese/hardboiled egg with your apple

Bukarka fruit — how to deal with it?

Have you ever wondered if elephants really do get drunk when they eat Marula Fruit? And is it good for anything else, other than South Africa’s much loved Amarula Cream Liqueur?
Well, you might be astounded to know that in Swaziland alone, there are about 2 million Marula Trees and, on average, a mature tree can produce up to 500kg of fruit a year. And long before Amarula Cream became one of South Africa’s best exports, rural women were making “buganu”.

Well, first off, we have to put the myth to bed once and for all – it is virtually impossible that an elephant will ever get drunk eating fermented Marula fruit off the ground – or that the fruit ferments in their stomachs. Scientists have advised that the sugars in the fruit would be turned to fat before fermentation takes place – and they much prefer the fresh fruit off the tree, rather than the rotting fruit that has fallen. So if you find an elephant at a Marula tree, you can be sure it will be sober!

And talking of sober – or not – rural women gather the fruit, cut off the pulp ( which is not a very thick layer) and with this, brew a traditional drink called “buganu”. Powerful stuff which can keep people off work with big hangovers.

As for the rest of the tree, Marula trees are truly gifts from Mother Nature. They provide us with such an impressive range of uses that it’s no wonder that the fruit has become so popular. The Marula belongs to the same family as cashew, mango and pistachio and here are some benefits:-

  1. The astringent bark has a range of medicinal uses, including treatment for diarrhoea, diabetes, fever and malaria.
  2. The Zulu and Tonga peoples both call Marula the ‘marriage tree’, and a brew of the bark is administered as part of a cleansing ritual prior to marriage.
  3. The inside of the bark serves as a natural histamine, used in the treatment of allergic reactions and insect bites. It is also known to draw mild venom out of wounds.
  4. The fruit’s high pectin content, and delicious flavour, makes it ideal for jam, and it has also been used for sweets, liqueurs, syrup and preserves
  5. The vitamin C content of the Marula fruit is eight times higher than that in an orange. The fruits are also rich in oleic acids and antioxidants
  6. The leaves of the fruit are often crushed up and eaten, as they have proven time and time again to be far better than conventional antacids and are favoured by pregnant women who opt to forego chemically enhanced products.
  7. The oil is predominantly oleic acid, which makes it an excellent component in skin-care formulations, while also containing linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids. It is also tremendously stable, outperforming all known natural liquid oils.
  8. Marula oil is one of the most important natural oils available. It is similar to olive oil and healthier for the skin, hair and body than most other cosmetics.
  9. Marula oil is also quite rare in the sense that it consists of 28 % protein. It is called the new “miracle oil” in the cosmetics industry thanks to its composition of monounsaturated fatty acids and its rich content of antioxidants and is highly nourishing, hydrating and naturally softens and revitalizes the skin.
  10. The nuts or kernels of these trees are very delicious with a delicate aroma.
  11. The kernels and the oil are said to be effective meat preservatives

These trees are known by different names in different regions. Some of its common names include Morula, Jelly Plum, Cider Tree, Elephant Tree, Marriage Tree, Cat Thorn, Canhoeiro, Dania, Mutsomo, Mushomo and Umganu.

The Marula is a dioecious tree which means male and female flowers grow on separate trees. The female trees bear female flowers and fruits while the male trees bear only male flowers.

All in all, Marula Trees really ARE a big deal, so how about making a trip into Swaziland to see how prolific they are at Royal Jozini Big 6 Reserve? Book a bush lodge home of your choice and when you get there, see how many Marula Trees you can spot. Then relax with sun-downers to enjoy pristine bushveld at its best.

What is Jackfruit and How Can You Use It?

Jackfruit is turning up in more grocery aisles and restaurant menus these days. Although I am occasionally skeptical of new food trends, this nutritious, tasty fruit looks like it’s here to stay in my pantry thanks to its versatility and affordable price.


If you’re not familiar with jackfruit, it’s a large fruit that’s thought to be indigenous to India, but today grows in many tropical regions such as Southeast Asia and Brazil.

Jackfruit has been used throughout Asia for hundreds of years as a meat alternative, but seems have only caught on in the United States in the past few years, thanks to an increase in companies packaging and distributing it.

Why? Vegans love it because it’s versatile, and takes on the flavor of whatever seasoning or ingredients you’re cooking it with. And it’s becoming more readily available in national grocery store chains!


Many people are making sweeping statements about the possibility of jackfruit taking the culinary world by storm, and for good reasons. It’s relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to meat—a can of organic jackfruit runs about $2.99 in my stores. Jackfruit is also versatile, and a good source of calcium, iron and potassium.

In my mind, the downside is the fact that jackfruit has very little protein (1 to 2 grams), so although I love using it occasionally in the kitchen, I wouldn’t choose it as a frequent main dish unless I was serving it alongside something else with a bit of protein such as beans or tofu.


On its own jackfruit doesn’t at all taste like meat. In fact, I find that canned unripe jackfruit tastes a lot like artichokes, though its texture is more stringy.

That said, much like tofu, canned jackfruit actually takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. This makes it incredibly versatile and a great vegan meat alternative.

What about fresh, ripe jackfruit? It’s much sweeter and tastes more like a mild mango. It’s great in desserts, ice cream, and smoothies.


As the largest tree-born fruit in the world, mature jackfruit are estimated to weigh up to 90 pounds. Thankfully, if you head to the grocery store, you’ll likely find it canned or frozen, so you don’t have to deal with breaking it down yourself!

Look in the frozen food aisle for the sweet, ripe jackfruit to use in smoothies or sweet desserts and look in the canned food aisle for the unripe, green jackfruit—which you can think of as young green jackfruit. You’ll use this canned jackfruit in most savory recipes.

It is less likely that you’ll encounter fresh jackfruit in the produce section, but if you do, you can use it like any other fresh fruit.

Jackfruit is available at most Asian grocery stores, well-stocked grocery stores with a natural foods focus (such as Whole Foods), Trader Joe’s, or Amazon.


Thanks to it’s awesome stringy texture, unripe canned jackfruit is getting a lot of buzz for its use in vegan and vegetarian recipes, such as shredded BBQ tacos, sandwiches, and curries. In these kinds of recipes, jackfruit is strikingly similar to pulled pork or pulled chicken.

Since canned jackfruit is usually canned with a brine solution, give it a thorough rinse before using. Right out of the can, it’ll likely look like big chunks; shred them before using them in your recipe. (Some people prefer to shred after cooking it, but I find that if you’re working with a sauce, it’s easier to shred the jackfruit first.)

Some of the jackfruit pieces will have the firm core attached and that won’t shred; feel free to just leave it as is or give it a quick chop with your kitchen knife. The core is perfectly edible, and you won’t even notice it once it’s cooked with your other ingredients.

As for how to tell when it’s done cooking, you can actually just eat jackfruit raw out of the can if you’d like, so you won’t need to “cook” it, per se. But I think it’s best once it’s warmed up with some seasoning.


If you start Googling jackfruit recipes, you’ll find plenty of recipes for pulled tacos and sandwiches–including our own Pulled Jackfruit Tacos! But there are plenty of other ways to cook with jackfruit.

You can also cook up jackfruit with Asian spices or sauces and add them as part of a stir-fry. Jackfruit also makes a nice addition to a quick weeknight curry.

We’ve added it to fried rice at home, and also folded it into slow cooker chili and stew. In the spring and summer, it’s great cooked with your favorite sauce or seasoning, and works well when added to salads, grain bowls or used as a filling for simple wraps.

How Ringworm Spreads, and How to Deal With It

The fungal infection ringworm can be a nuisance, but good treatment options are available.

Despite its name, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm — but rather by a fungus. “The rash happens to come as a ring,” says Amy Kassouf, MD, a dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The name ringworm describes the characteristic circular shape, which can be red and scaly in appearance.

Ringworm occurs at various places on the body and is scientifically known as tinea, followed by a word denoting the area where the rash is visible; tinea capitus is a scalp infection, for example. In fact, ringworm that occurs in one person on one area can be transmitted to someone else and show up on a completely different body part, depending on how the fungus was transmitted.

The infection can spread via skin-to-skin contact, clothing, or surfaces where the fungus lives, such as in showers or locker rooms. It’s more common among people with compromised immune systems and can spread more easily among families (because of skin contact) or athletes (because of the locker room environment).

“Kids may have it on the scalp, and their mom will have it on her neck,” says Robin P. Gehris, MD, chief of pediatric dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “When infants have tinea capitus and the mom snuggles with the infant, the mom can get it by direct inoculation to places like her neck and chest,” she explains.

Ringworm Treatment

While ringworm is irritating, it doesn’t come with severe complications.

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In most cases, the rash is treated in the same way: with a topical antifungal treatment, such as Lotrimin (clotrimazole) or Lamisil (terbinafine). The one exception to the simple treatment rule is for a scalp infection, which occurs more commonly in children and is noticeable because a ring of hair loss will often occur in the infected area. Ringworm that reaches the scalp entails much more intensive treatment — typically six weeks of an oral antifungal medication rather than a topical cream.

While it’s necessary, the longer treatment course is unwelcome news to most patients, says Dr. Gehris. But topical creams won’t work on the scalp because the surface treatments don’t penetrate deeply enough. “Treating it yourself with over-the-counter antifungal creams, is not going to be effective because it’s on the scalp,” says Gehris.

Ringworm Transmission From Animals to People

Unlike some other infections, ringworm doesn’t only spread between people, but can also come from contact with an infected animal.

“I had a colleague who got it from holding a koala bear in Australia,” says Dr. Kassouf.

While most cases won’t come from such exotic sources, infection is a concern with household pets, who certainly rub up against human companions enough to spread ringworm to people within the house.

“Fungus is everywhere,” says Beth Goldstein, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in the Chapel Hill area and an adjunct at the University of North Carolina. “Small animals, like kittens and puppies, can get infected.”

Is It Ringworm or Something Else?

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Because ringworm typically has a distinctive circular appearance, you may think you know what you have and treat it yourself with over-the-counter (OTC) remedies.

“Classically it looks like a red scaly patch where the center becomes clear,” says Dr. Goldstein.

But it can also look like eczema or other skin problems, so if your self-diagnosed rash doesn’t respond to OTC treatments, a visit to the doctor is a good idea.

The most important steps for you to take when you see an unexplained rash, says Adam Goldstein, MD, PhD, professor of family medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, are these: “Getting it diagnosed quickly, getting it treated so you’re not spreading it, and figuring out where you got it from.”

How to Prevent the Spread of Ringworm

Some basic steps families can take to avoid the spread of ringworm include being careful about what you share: Teach kids not to wear each other’s hats, and make sure each family member uses their own comb and brush. Other basic hygiene practices, like not sharing razors, can help prevent the spread of ringworm. And athletes and gymgoers should be sure to wipe down or avoid sharing athletic equipment.

One of the most at-risk groups for ringworm are wrestlers, who come in contact with each other and with moist mats that harbor the fungus and facilitate its spread. In some cases, wrestlers may want to use antifungal treatments as part of a regular cleaning routine. Check with your doctor about this.

“In a high-risk sport like wrestling, consider showering right after with something that might be somewhat antifungal, such as Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue shampoos as body wash,” says Gehris.

Unfortunately, she adds, “Sometimes you do everything right and you still get it.”

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