Bacterial wilt is wilting and decay caused by an increase of harmful bacteria and pathogens on the plant.
Bacterial wilt happens when colonies of beneficial bacteria begin to die off and harmful bacteria begin to thrive above and in the soil. This is especially harmful to organic soil growing and living soil techniques as we rely on the bacteria and fungi in the rizosphere to supply nutrition to the plants so they can be healthy enough to fight off pathogens and disease.
Bacterial wilt and diseased plants are generally found in acidic soils with a ph of 5.5 or lower. Why is this?
First, we need to understand how bacteria move and feed using chemical signals. They use internal hydrogen ions to detect food, move themselves, then to process organic compounds and in turn give us their waste that feeds our lovely plants.
Now that we have a basic understanding of how bacteria operate we can now make the correlation with P.H. (potential hydrogen)
Since bacteria operate using hydrogen ions when the potential hydrogen in their environment changes the hydrogen ions being released in the environment can confuse the bacteria and cause them to sit still. They just stop moving like they’re stuck in quick sand. It doesn’t kill them right away, but if the ph is not adjusted to healthy levels for the beneficial bacteria they will starve and die.
To avoid this and help keep the beneficial colonies healthy inside of your soil it is important to ph test your soil at the root zone frequently. If the ph is too high (over 7.5) you can bring it back down organically using a mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. If the ph is too low (5.5 or under) you can adjust using lime as a top dressing and watering with distilled or purified water at a ph of 7.
Other preventative measures include foliar sprays using milk and garlic to kill harmful bacteria on your plant and to feed and help grow beneficial colonies.
Remember to keep that soil healthy. Happy growing.