Nonchemical Disease Control: Quick Facts


The next few tips will discuss non-chemical disease control. This report originally written by Laura Pottorff, former plant pathologist and horticulturist, Integrated Pest Management Program, Jefferson County and revised by B. Edmunds by regional specialist, commercial greenhouse and nurseries at Colorado State University Extension and Adams County. This report will provide much useful information on non-chemical disease control.


  • Many disease problems can be prevented or controlled without pesticides.
  • Always choose plants that are adapted to Colorado growing conditions.
  • Avoid bringing diseases into the garden or moving them around within your garden.
  • Eliminate the disease-causing organism after it has become established on a plant.
With the increasing concern about use and misuse of pesticides in commercial agriculture and home gardens, there are more and more inquiries for organically grown commodities every year. Nonchemical control practices for plant diseases have been known and recommended for years. The backbone of any integrated pest control program must always include cultural and sanitation practices, two important components of nonchemical disease control.
Unfortunately, disease problems may begin as soon as seeds are planted and can continue into harvest and storage. Plant diseases may be caused by several pathogenic organisms, such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, mycoplasmas and nematodes. In addition, nonliving factors, such as deficiencies or excesses of water, light, temperature, air pollution, pesticides and nutrients, can either predispose a plant to disease or directly cause plant injury.
Fortunately, many disease problems can be prevented or controlled without pesticides. Effective plant disease control begins at the onset of disease or even before symptoms appear.

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