Powdery mildew is perhaps one of the most common and plant diseases and one that you can recognize very easy. And even though almost no type of plant is immune to it, some of them are more in danger than others. Some of the main targets of the powdery mildew are roses, lilacs, grapes or squashes. So what to do when this diseases is affecting your garden? Here are some ideas that might help.
• How to recognize the powdery mildew
Just like its name implies, powdery mildew looks a lot like a powdery smear that is white or gray that can be found on the leaves and the stems of the plants that are affected. And even though there are several types of powdery mildew fungi they basically all look the same. Some gardeners don't see the powdery mildew util the top surfaces of the leaves are affected but this diseases can damage the stems, the flowers, the fruit and the buds as well. But the good thing is that, even though the plant looks bad, this disease in not fatal and can be cured.
• How to identify a plant that has been affected
Even though powdery mildew will not kill your plants, it will definitely make them weaker. For example, when the leaves are covered, the photosynthesis process is impaired. Also, when the leaves are sick, they can fall prematurely. So a plant that doesn't have enough photosynthesis will make fruits that have a diminished flavored. And if the buds are infected, they have less chances to open or to even mature.
And here is one more info that might be useful: the fungi of powdery mildew are quite specific when it comes to their "hosts" so different kind of plants will suffer from different kind of powdery mildew.
• So why does the powdery mildew appear?
There are some specific causes that triggers the powdery mildew to appear like crowded plantings, poor air circulation, dampness or high humidity. The powdery mildew produces spores in the plant debris, that are carried by insects, wind or water.
• How to treat and control powdery mildew
If you have powdery mildew in your garden and you want to get rid of it, here are some advice from the experts.
1. Buy only healthy plants and make sure that you keep them healthy all year long.
2. Ask your local gardeners if they have a powdery mildew resistant cultivar.
3. Make sure you don't plant non-resistant varieties of flowers in a place where there is shade.
4. If you see a plant that is affected by the powdery mildew, you must destroy all the parts that are affected.
5. Use thinning and pruning to improve air circulation between the plants.
6. Don't water your plants from above and under no circumstance use a fertilizer.
• Effective ways to remove the powdery mildew
Here are two things that you can do: you either apply a fungicide that you can buy from your local gardening shops or make a solution at home. If you chose a fungicide, read the label to see if it fits to the plant that is affected and make sure it has some of these ingredients like sulfur, copper or potassium bicarbonate. If you want to make it at home use baking soda or milk. All of these methods will cure and prevent the disease. Most of these solutions should be applied more then once, but please make sure you read the label for proper information.
I also found this great video that shows how to keep your plant powdery mildew free and also how to make homemade solutions to kill it.