White spots on spinach leaves may be harmful or not, depending on the cause. The appearance of these spots can get you worried, but you no longer need to worry, as we have listed all the possible causes of white spots on spinach leaves in this article.
Read this informative guide to learn the causes and solutions to your spinach leaf white spot problems.
- Why Are There White Spots on Your Spinach Leaves?
- How To Fix the White Spots on Spinach Leaves
Why Are There White Spots on Your Spinach Leaves?
There are white spots on your spinach leaves for one of quite a few reasons. It may be that there is a fungal disease such as white rust, light may be a problem, there are nutrient deficiencies or there are even herbicide burns.
– Fungal Diseases
If you see white spots on your spinach plant, the first thing that you should think of, especially if the plant is growing in poor conditions, is a fungal attack.
A fungus species like the white rust makes white spots on the underside of spinach leaves for a while and then the spots move to the top side. It is not just deadly to the plants; it makes their leaves unsafe for eating.
The Powdery mildew fungus, cercospora, and downy mildew are also species that cause white spots in your spinach plants.
However, the downy mildew fungus can give your plants some gray or brown fuzzy undersides and yellow blotched top. Most of the fungi that attack spinach plants do so when you overwater your plants or the humidity level is very high.
– Light Problems
Talking about growing conditions, one important factor that you must consider is light. Spinach plants are grown for their sweet green leaves and they can only get such leaves when they grow with the right exposure to light.
If the spinach leaves get too much light, their leaves will either become brown or will get white or brown spots on their edges which make them undesirable.
If the light is not enough, their leaves will become pale and have yellow or white spots. You can tell that your spinach plants need more light when you see their leaves and stems etiolated and stretching toward the source of light.
– Herbicide or Chemical Burn
Spinach plant leaves turning yellow or white may be a sign of toxic chemical exposure. If you do not wait for a few months after using herbicides in your garden before you plant your spinach plants, you may be growing toxic plants. Spinaches that have been exposed to harmful chemicals will look pale and weak. You should also see some dying.
When was the last time you used herbicides on pesticides in your garden? If you recently used pesticides to get rid of insects and other types of pests, are the chemicals plant safe? Did someone nearby apply any chemicals to their garden recently?
– Nutrient Problems
Another reason why your spinach leaves can have white spots is that you are either overfeeding the plants or not giving them enough nutrients.
If your spinach plants are lacking in nutrients, especially nutrients like iron, nitrogen, and potassium, their leaves will start by developing pale spots then the whole leaf will turn pale.
If your spinach plants get more nutrients than they need, you should notice the leaves turning pale and falling. The plant will also look weak and dehydrated; it will be absorbing more nutrients than water.
When last did you feed your spinach plants? What type of fertilizer did you use? The answer to these questions can tell you if your plants have white spots due to nutrient problems or not.
– Hard Water
Hard water is simply water with a lot of chlorine and other minerals. The reason why gardeners are asked to water their spinach and other plants with dechlorinated water is that if the water is hard, it can lead to white spots or dust appearing on the leaves.
The problem with hard water is that when your spinach plant takes a lot of it, the water evaporates from the leaves (i.e., transpiration) and leaves the minerals on the leaves. If you are watering your spinach plants with regular tap water or just any type of water, you may be exposing them to a lot of minerals in the water.
– Insect Pests
If the spots on your spinach leaves are associated with some bite marks, they may be a sign of a pest attack. Insects and other pests eat spinach leaves, so do not be surprised when you see them on the leaves of your spinach plants.
The leaf miner larva is a whitish maggot that attacks spinach leaves. Flea beetles which can be metallic gray, black, or brown are also suspects.
You can also find spider mites that cover themselves in whitish silk. What about scale insects?
These insects which can be white, yellow, or light green usually attack leaves from the petioles. Even though they are not permanent pests, these insects can appear as white spots on your spinach plants.
– Bacteria and Viral Infections
Insects and other invertebrates are not the only pests that attack spinach leaves. Your spinach plants can also face attacks from bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microbes.
The bacterial leaf spot which usually comes in different colors looks like dry flakes in the leaves of your spinach plants. The dryness of the spots can make their center look white, yellow, or brown.
Viruses such as the impatiens necrotic spot virus also attack spinach plants. White spots caused by viruses are very small-sized and spread quickly from one leaf to another. Most of these microbes can kill your spinach plants, so you want to check for weak or dying plants as well.
– Hail Damage
Are your spinach plants exposed to hail storms? If so, the waxy coating on their leaves can peel off and make the leaves look white or pale. Hail storms are dangerous, as the little ice pellets can tear and damage your spinach leaves. You can tell that the white spots in your spinach leaves are caused by hail when the spots only appear after the storm.
– They Are Simply Trichomes
Trichomes are hair-like growths on the leaves of your spinach plants. These hairs are natural and not harmful at all. Trichomes have a lot of uses, as they can trap moisture from the atmosphere for your spinach plants. If the spots on your spinach leaves are just a cluster of Trichomes, you have nothing to worry about.
Note that damaging the trichomes can lead to a bacterial infection, as you will be exposing the spinach leaves to attack from microbes. If the white spots are trichomes, leave the plants.
– Could Be Paint
What if you are just worried and the spots are simply paint? If you have white paint around and the spots on your spinach leaves do not have any pattern (i.e., they appear on random leaves), it could mean that the spots on the leaves are just splashes of paint. It could be paint or dust, so you need to examine the plants.
Go closer to the leaves and carefully look at them. If possible, touch or smell the spots to see if they smell like paint. If you wipe the spots and they go off the leaves easily, they could be dust. Note that they could also be mold.
How To Fix the White Spots on Spinach Leaves
To fix the white spots on spinach leaves you can use fungicides, get homemade insect repellents, use a baking soda solution, water your spinach plants appropriately, protect your plants from hail storms, keep your spinach leaves clean or get chemical pesticides.
– Make Use of Fungicides
If you have ascertained that your spinach plants are attacked by fungi such as white rust and powdery mildew, you should go to any gardening shop nearby and get some fungicides. Fungicides are mostly chemical products that help to repel and inhibit the growth of fungi on your spinach plants.
Even though most fungicides are very effective against fungi, you need to carefully use them so that you do not harm your spinach plants.
Only follow the instructions on the product’s label and never use more than you should. Note that the white spots may not leave your spinach leaves in some cases. However, you can check if the fungicides are working or not by examining new leaves.
– Get Homemade Insect Repellents
Insect repellents such as neem oil and soapy water are very easy-to-make homemade products that you can use effectively against insects and other invertebrates.
The oil extracted from the seed of neems has biochemical properties that repel insects from the leaves of plants. You can dilute the oil with water or spray a few droplets of it on the leaves of your plants.
Use the neem oil in the morning or evening and not on hot days. As for the soapy water, you only need to mix water and soap to make this solution. You can spray it on your spinach leaves as soon as you see insects on them.
– Use a Baking Soda Solution
A baking soda solution may not look like much, but it can save your plants from fungi and some other microbes.
Baking soda can effectively inhibit the growth of fungi, so you should mix the powder with water. Using a spray bottle, spray the baking soda solution on your spinach leaves whenever you want. You should see fewer spots in the coming weeks.
Instead of using a spray bottle, you can make the solution a little bit thick so that it becomes a paste. Rub the paste on the leaves of your spinach plants. This paste does not go off the leaves as easily as the droplets.
– Handpick Pests off Your Spinach Plants
If the spots on your plants are insects, you should remove them immediately after you see them. If the insects are caterpillars, maggots, and other sizable insects, you can use your hands (use a glove if you want to) to pick them off your plants. This is a great idea, especially if the insects on your plants are few and only visit occasionally.
Note that if you do not kill the insects or throw them as far away from your spinach garden as possible, they will return and attack your plants again.
– Water Your Spinach Plants With Dechlorinated Water
Dechlorinated water is water with very little to no chlorine and other minerals. This is the best type of water for your spinach and other plants, as it prevents you from exposing the plants to hard water.
Even though you are using the right form of water, remember that you should only water your spinach plants when they need water so that you do not overwater them.
– Protect Your Plants From Hail Storms
To protect the leaves of your spinach plants, grow them in a protected area where hailstorms can’t damage them. A simple shade cloth or transparent tarp is all you need to protect your spinach leaves. This is only of course if you are in an area prone to hail.
– Keep Your Spinach Leaves Clean and Dry
Keeping your spinach leaves clean is very important, as it prevents pests and dust from staying on the leaves for a very long time.
You can keep them clean by spraying them with water in the morning. Before noon, the water droplets should have evaporated off the leaves. Ensure that water does not stay on your spinach leaves for an extended time.
– Get Chemical Pesticides
Just in case you tried the homemade products above and you still see some pests on your spinach leaves, you can get effective chemical products from gardening stores nearby.
Ensure that the pesticides are plant-safe and you follow the instructions so that you do not harm your spinach plants.
After reading this article, you can now grow spinach plants without harmful white spots.
Just as reminders, here are some points:
- Before you start treating the white spots on your spinach leaves, first make sure that they are harmful.
- Remember that the use of hard water can cause white spots on your spinach plants, so ensure that you properly treat your water before you water your plants.
- A baking soda solution is a homemade product that you can use. It is both cheap and effective.
- If you have tried so many methods to repel pests from your spinach plants but are not successful, try using chemical fungicides or pesticides.
- Ensure that you protect your plants from hail storms and other storms that can damage their leaves.
Now, go to your garden and examine your spinach plants to make sure that they are free from fungi and other causes of harmful white spots.
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