Organic Garden Spray Fights Powdery Mildew in Your Garden
You know it when you see it. Powdery mildew looks, well . . . powdery! Just like someone sprinkled talcum powder on plants, shrubs, and trees in your garden. This is the time of year when we see this fungal disease the most – during warm summer weather. It can really be an eye sore finding it on many of our favorite flowering plants, shrubs, and trees that are susceptible to powdery mildew – dogwoods, peonies, perennials like black-eyed Susan, bee-balm, phlox, coneflower, lilacs, and roses, to name just a few. In the vegetable garden, powdery mildew grows on many plant leaves- tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans, and even on carrots, and beets. If you grow zucchini you know how common it is to see powdery mildew on zucchini leaves.
As a fungal disease, powdery mildew spreads via spores. Spores are spread by the wind, insects, water splashes, especially when plants are over-crowded. When environmental conditions are right, powdery mildew spores are released, landing on leaf surfaces. Insects such as aphids are also notorious for spreading spores. Green plants produce their own food for growth through photosynthesis. The presence of powdery mildew on leaves blocks sunlight from reaching the leaf surface where plants harness sunlight for photosynthesis.
Preventive measures lessen potential plant damage from powdery mildew. If you have plants with a history of contracting powdery mildew, you can pre-treat these plants to reduce or eliminate the disease. At The Dirt On Dirt, we love Eco-1 Garden Spray and Eco-1 Fruit & Vegetable Spray! We tested it against other products and like the results. Eco-1 contains organic oils of thyme, mint and flax. When sprayed on leaves, Eco-1 lightly coats the leaf surface suppressing existing powdery mildew spores and keeps any new spores from producing further infection. We also found that Eco-1 does not burn or desiccate plant foliage. Even severely affected plants can recover and become healthy again. Eco-1 is non-toxic to both humans and animals. It has a wonderful scent from the thyme and mint oils! Don’t forget to spray the underside of effected leaves and stems.
Other important steps to fight off powdery mildew include removing and discarding severely diseased leaves and plant material. Once a plant has finished blooming and if it is severely infected with powdery mildew – often seen on peonies – much of the plant can be cut back to the ground.
Good air circulation around plants is so important. Over-crowed plants easily spread diseases and insect infestations. If your garden beds are looking congested or over-crowded, selectively prune leaves and spindly plants to improve both light conditions and air flow through the garden.
At the end of last year we discussed the importance fall garden clean up. This is an important time to get rid of dried and dead foliage containing powdery mildew spores. Often powdery mildew will over-winter in dead foliage, releasing spores again in the spring. We will remind you about these important fall clean-up steps as winter approaches!
Good luck in the garden and try Eco-1. Let us know what you think!