Preventing and Controlling Powdery Mildew
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How to Stop Powdery Mildew on Leaves
If you notice fungus on the leaves in your garden, powdery mildew is probably the culprit. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that results in a gray or white coating on the leaves and stems of infected plants. Powdery mildew infection usually starts with a few spores on the leaves, but spreads quickly, forming a thick layer of fungus. It can eventually cause yellowing of the leaves and premature leaf drop.
Plants Affected by Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew thrives in humid conditions with moderate temperatures. Several species of fungi in the order Erysiphals can cause the disease, although the symptoms are similar. In all areas with humid summers, powdery mildew almost always appears. While it can affect any plant, some species are more susceptible to serious infections, including:
- California poppy
Damage to Plants
In many cases, powdery mildew causes little damage to plants and is simply not attractive. Some plants are so sensitive to powdery mildew that it is almost inevitable; you should expect this result if you choose to grow these species.
Many gardeners are just happy with the fact that powdery mildew will appear almost every year and don't bother to aggressively fight it.
But, in addition to being unattractive, powdery mildew can, in extreme cases, cause yellowing and leaf drop; slow plant growth; deformation of shoots, flowers, and fruits; and possible weakening of the plant.
Disease Life Cycle
Damp powdery mildew spores hibernate in diseased parts of the plant and begin asexual production of new spores as the weather warms up.
The new spores are carried by the wind to other parts of the plant or to other nearby plants. The spores never stop producing more spores, so if the infected leaves are not destroyed, the problem will never be eradicated and will only get worse.
Treatment and Prevention
Powdery mildew thrives in temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in humid weather and in shady areas with poor air circulation.
Chemical fungicides are generally ineffective against powdery mildew; the best strategies are more physical in nature, such as removing and destroying diseased plants and plant parts.
Planting disease-resistant cultivars and ensuring good air circulation are two ways to protect yourself from powdery mildew. Also, try these methods of controlling powdery mildew:
- More sensitive plant species in a place where they can receive the morning sun. This will allow condensation and dew to dry quickly and will reduce the humidity conditions that favor fungi on plant leaves.
- Improve air circulation by spacing the plants well. Better ventilation reduces disease. Dense plants can be rinsed to improve air circulation.
- Inspect plants regularly in hot, dry weather and remove leaves that show signs of infection. Always destroy (do not compost!) Infected plant parts.
- Apply a spray of 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 liter of water. Spraying plants weekly at the first sign of leaf fungus can protect them from further damage.
- Use neem oil, a commercially available organic treatment. This treats the existing powdery mildew and protects the plant from new infections.
- Apply a milk-based spray to the plants as a preventive measure.
Interestingly, an effective way to prevent and treat powdery mildew is to spray the foliage of plants with water from the hose on a daily basis.
Powdery mildew hates water; The only caveat with this method is to do it early in the day so that the foliage dries out completely before the cooler night temperatures hit. Otherwise, you can invite other fungal diseases, such as blackheads, into your garden.
Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How to Treat Powdery White Mildew
Source: Project Diaries
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