Fight Garden Enemy #1: Powdery Mildew

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Powdery Mildew | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Your vegetables, flowers, ornamental trees and shrubs all have one enemy in common – powdery mildew. A widespread and easily identifiable plant disease, powdery mildew appears as white to grayish spots on leaves, especially after warm and humid nights. It can slow down growth and, in extreme cases, kill plants.

Don’t worry if you find powdery mildew on your plants or trees; there are several ways to limit the damage. Plus, different strains of powdery mildew infect different plants, so the disease cannot spread from your tomatoes to your zinnias.

5 Ways to Keep Mildew Out of the Garden:

  1. Prune infected branches to reduce the number of spores present and improve air circulation around the plants.
  2. Avoid fertilizing troubled plants until mildew has cleared. Tender new growth can quickly fall prey to powdery mildew fungi.
  3. Water your garden during the morning hours using an adjustable nozzle. Wash down infected plants with a strong spray of water. Many spores will be washed to the ground where they can do no harm.
  4. Make a milk solution to prevent the spread of powdery mildew. Mix one cup milk with four cups water and spray on both sides of leaves on a cloudy day.
  5. Make a baking soda solution to make leaf surfaces inhospitable to powdery mildew. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of cooking oil and liquid dishwashing soap in a gallon of warm water. Shake well. Spray plants with this mixture every seven to 10 days to prevent powdery mildew on susceptible plants.

Tip: Moisture stress is often a factor in powdery mildew outbreaks. Water your garden regularly in the morning as part of your fungus-fighting strategy.

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