Yuk! What’s that white stuff on the leaves? If your plants have been attacked by powdery mildew, you know the frustration and challenge of this garden nemesis. White powdery mildew is a fairly common problem, so if you haven’t yet encountered it, that’s great, but file this away, just in case. You can have vibrant green leafed plants that seem to be thriving, but then this icky white blight looking stuff can still appear, and yes it can spread to affect other plants. So… How to treat powdery mildew?
Powdery mildew is a fungus that can quickly weaken plants and compromise production. The good news is that you can treat powdery mildew to keep your plants vibrant. We’ll get to remedies in a minute, but first some answers and images.
What Does Powdery Mildew on Plants Look Like?
Powdery mildew appears as unmistakable white splotches and blotches on the leaves of plants.
We made a big mistake last year and didn’t check in soon enough on our goji berries at our upper garden. (We don’t live on that property yet). Subsequently we lost last year’s crop of gojis, so we’ll definitely keep a closer eye on that this season!
The Bad News:
Powdery mildew is very common, can spread and virtually impossible to cure.
The Good News:
Powdery mildew is easy to treat and keep under control.
Homemade Sprays to Treat Powdery Mildew
With spray solutions, you need to spray the leaves and reapply after rain to treat powdery mildew.
Baking Soda Spray
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Couple drops of liquid dish soap
- 1 quart water
- Mix in spray bottle
- Spray leaves liberally
- 1 Part milk (approx. 3 oz)
- 9 Parts water (approx 29 oz)
- Mix in quart spray bottle
- Spray leaves
How simple is that, right?!
Here’s Coleman talking about treating powdery mildew on squash and tomatoes in our lower garden.
Steps to Preventing Powdery Mildew
How does powdery mildew spread?
- Powdery mildew is fungal spores spread by wind and can overwinter on plants and in plant debris.
- Powdery mildew can grow without direct contact with water.
- Powdery mildew thrives in summer climates.
What Plants are Vulnerable to Powdery Mildew?
Powdery mildew affects ornamentals such as:
- Beebalm (Monarda)
- Lilacs (Syringa)
- Garden phlox (P. paniculata)
Powdery mildew especially affects these vegetables:
What Does Powdery Mildew do?
Besides being ugly, powdery mildew can negatively affect the flavor and yield of fruits and vegetables, and can even destroy entire plants, as has happened in our garden. Though plants do not usually die, their production is definitely impacted. If you want to keep your crop, treatment is imperative and urgent.
When it comes to ornamentals, while powdery mildew doesn’t usually kill them, so treatment is optional. However, no gardener likes to see powdery mildew on his or her prize roses!
How to Prevent Powdery Mildew Organically
Powdery mild can’t be cured, so every effort at prevention is the best defense.
- Plant mildew resistant or mildew tolerant varieties
- Place plants for the best air circulation
- No overcrowding of plants
- The more direct sunlight, the better, to inhibit spore germination
- Burn affected plants of bag and trash them
Powdery mildew prevention is possible; cure is not.
For more images and an update on our powdery mildew issues and treatments, you may enjoy this newsletter article.
SOURCE: Rol Staff, on OrganicGardening.com.1)http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/steps-prevention
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