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Powdery Mildew: What It Is & How to Handle It!

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Classified as a fungal disease, powdery mildew is a common occurrence across varying species of plant life. The term powdery mildew is used extensively as a generalization for the multitude of different types of mildew fungi and each one of these types of fungi attack a specific species of plant life.

Since powdery mildew does not require a super moist surface to grow on, the fungal disease flourishes in an array of different environments, but most notably hot, arid climates. Regarding plant susceptibility, older tissue is less apt to catching the disease in contrast to younger, less developed tissue from premature plants or seedlings.

How Do I Spot It?

For identifying an outbreak in the garden, symptoms begins with powder-like, white patches that will engulf the leaves of the plant and slowly start to spread across the plant’s structure. As the mildew makes it home on the leaves, many will begin to yellow and die as the fungi move to the flower sites of the plant. Many growers find that once they see small, lighter patches of color appearing on plants leaves, an outbreak is in the near future.

How Do I Prevent It?

To prevent the onset of the disease, two favored products amongst growers are the bacterial strains of Streptomyces Lydicus and Bacillus Subtilis.

Streptomyces Lydicus attacks powdery mildew by creating extracellular antifungal metabolites which destroy the fungi, while Bacillus Subtilis eradicates the mildew by not allowing it to colonize itself on the plant, therefore stopping it in its tracks.

Thankfully both these products are also certified organic and acceptable for use with organic crop production, making them well-rounded and available to a large variety of gardeners.

How Do I Get Rid Of It?

Getting rid of powdery mildew is tricky; once it is in your plant the fungi will remain systemically present for the entire life of the plant and will be prevalent in any cutting taken from the plant.

So in other words, once a plant is infected, there is no way to fix it; a gardener can only hope to keep the disease at bay. The saying goes, “the best defense is a good offense” and in these circumstances, that couldn’t be truer. It is best to inhibit the chances of catching powdery mildew than to try and keep it under control, so preventative care is essential.

Taking the time to spray down, or root drench, the plants in a grower’s garden can not only save them time from not having to deal with the fungi once an outbreak would occur, but will also save them in terms of quality and yield of their final product. Fruits and flowers infested with powdery mildew should not be used, so a grower will lose out on an extensive amount of final product if the disease is left unchecked.

Some other options that are available to help combat powdery mildew are potassium bicarbonate and products containing either copper or sulfur like Dutch Masters Zone and Safer’s Garden Fungicide.

Here at Urban Garden Supply we try and supply all the options we can for our growers so stop in today and let’s take down that pesky, powdery mildew! 


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