|Tuesday Products: Powdery Mildew|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Tuesday, 13 November 2012|
It's that time of the year, when powdery mildew, a fungus (Microsphaera penicilliata) that affects many plants, makes an appearance in many parts of the country. Powdery mildew can affect just about any plant but lilacs, roses, bee balm, phlox, and members of the squash family like pumpkins seem to be most susceptible.
Plants growing in shady areas or crowded together with poor air circulation along with overcast skies, higher than usual amounts of rain, and higher humidity levels (at the microclimate level as well) make powdery mildew a common problem even in arid climates like New Mexico and Colorado.
A whitish powdery looking coating on the leaves is the most obvious sign of powdery mildew. In severe cases the leaf may become deformed and the stems and flowers may also be affected. While powdery mildew may mar the appearance of your plants, it doesn't really harm them. In most cases, it's not even necessary to treat it since most of these plants will be shedding their leaves in a month or two anyway. Just be sure to remove the leaves and affected parts and destroy them to lessen the chances of the spores re-infecting your plants. Do not compost infected leaves!
If your plants are affected by a mild case of powdery mildew and you'd like to treat it with a homemade remedy, try spraying the leaves with a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water. It may take a second application. A solution of one-part milk to 9 parts water may also work. There are also fungicides, many containing sulfur, on the market that can be applied as well.