Controlling Powdery Mildew With These 5 Steps

Ridley's Wreckage

What exactly is powdery mildew? It’s my arch nemesis, that‘s what... No, seriously, powdery mildew is a pretty common fungus disease found in your garden. It doesn’t discriminate; it’ll take down your vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Did I mention ornamental grasses? Yep, it’ll get those too. If you see white or grayish powdery spots or patches on your plants, it’s probably powdery mildew.
Powdery MildewPhoto byR.Gerner/Canva

It can hit stems, leaves, and flowers. Why do we hate powdery mildew? Because it’s contagious and can easily spread with just a gentle breeze, it will weaken the health of your plants, and in extreme cases, it can downright obliterate them. I went through a bout of powdery mildew last year, and here’s what I learned.

  1. To start, choose your plants wisely. There are numerous varieties that are more resistant to mildew than others. Get those varieties! Choose plant varieties that are less likely to come down with the fungus.
  2. Location, location, location. Powdery mildew does its best work in cool, humid locations. So you want to utilize the sun to keep your plants warm and make sure you have adequate air circulation. This will help you reduce your chances of infecting your plant by keeping its leaves dry, which in turn discourages growth.
  3. Water properly. Don’t shower your plants from above when watering; always aim for the base of the plant, where the roots are. Avoid getting your leaves wet and avoid over fertilizing (this can lead to a lot of foliage and leaf growth). If you spot powdery mildew, get on it quickly and prune off the infected plant parts immediately. This will help reduce the number of spores and hopefully cut down on the spread.
  4. Use a natural, effective fungicide. Sulfur is a great natural fungicide. There are several sulfur-based fungicides on the market that can be used to help control powdery mildew. When in doubt, visit your local garden center and get some guidance on products. Remember to always follow the directions on the label.
  5. A baking soda spray can also be used. Baking soda is all natural and does a great job at controlling powdery mildew. Make a solution of baking soda and water (1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 quart of water) and drench the affected plants or leaves (don’t forget the underside). You can repeat this every week; make sure you do this in the early morning prior to the direct sun being out. You want to avoid leaf burn.
Powdery MildewPhoto byR.Gerner/Canva

Using these five suggestions will help you and your garden be at its best. Powdery mildew can be a beast to combat. What I’ve learned is that getting on top of the problem quickly and using preventative measures will go a long way toward a healthy, productive, and vibrant growing season! Happy Gardening, Friends 🪴!

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Hello! Freelance blogger and videographer here! I love to refurbish furniture, show my creative side with cooking and crafts, and love to talk about my homestead and hobby farm. Follow me for flipping furniture inspiration and techniques, DIY craft projects, homestyle cooking with easy to follow recipes and some great gardening and animal husbandry tips!

Red Creek, NY

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