Both experienced, and novice gardeners wonder how to get rid of powdery mildew on garden plants. Powdery mildew is a fungal infection and one of the most widespread diseases that can wreak havoc on your healthy plants. Unless they’re hybrids cultivated to be resistant varieties, practically no plant is resistant to mildew, but some species are more sensitive than others.
Lilacs, roses, flowering crabapple trees, squash, cucumbers, and zinnias are the most susceptible plants to the fungus. You’ll find powdery mildew fungi almost anywhere. Still, high humidity at night, low relative humidity during the day, and 70-80℉ temperatures are optimal for powdery mildew infection to slow plant growth.
As the name implies, powdery mildew appears as dusty white spots on plant leaves and stems of affected plants. White fuzz on plants often identifies powdery mildew on the top of leaves; however, the disease usually begins on the undersides of leaves and spreads to stems, flower buds, and fruit.
- Treat White Spots on Garden Plants with Ease
- Baking Soda – Home Remedy for Powdery Mildew
- How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Garden Plants – Milk
- Potassium Bicarbonate for Fungal Disease on Plant Leaves
- Improve Air Circulation and Management
- Treat Powdery Mildew with Neem Oil
- How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Garden Plants – Vinegar
- Hydrogen Peroxide Kills Powdery Mildew
Treat White Spots on Garden Plants with Ease
Although powdery mildew affects many plants, each fungal infection is “host-specific,” meaning the fungi infecting the plant are unique to the variety. In other words, the powdery mildew on your squash won’t spread to other plants in your landscape. The good news is that while powdery mildew is an unsightly annoyance, it rarely kills your plants.
However, it does stress the plant, and repeated or severe infections weaken it, making it more susceptible to other illnesses and pest damage. Powdery mildew also depletes critical nutrients from the plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wither.
Photosynthesis is affected when powdery mildew covers enough leaf surface, and infected leaves drop from the plant prematurely. Mildew on plant leaves is a severe problem for edible plants, such as fruits and vegetables, because limited photosynthesis reduces the number of sugars generated, altering flavor.
Powdery mildew, also known as powder mildew and downy mildew, is a fungal disease involving plants and is most common in hot, dry areas. A variety of fungal species causes powdery mildew.
When extended periods of warm temperatures combine with dry circumstances, the fungal spores are spread by air currents and insects and germinate on leaf surfaces.
Powdery mildew spores live in plant buds. They survive the winter in plant debris and are transferred to your plants by the wind, insects, or splashing water in spring when conditions are more favorable.
Thankfully, it’s easy to treat white fungus on garden plants with these simple home remedies.
Baking Soda – Home Remedy for Powdery Mildew
Baking soda alone is ineffective in controlling powdery mildew, but it works well with liquid dish soap and water. Once the fungus has taken hold of your plant, it is less effective as a cure.
If you know a plant has powdery mildew year after year, spraying early in the season then weekly and reapplying after rain helps avoid mildew the following year.
When dealing with powdery mildew indoor plants or outdoor ones in the garden, remove powdery mildew infected leaves from a plant at the first indication of infection and treat the rest of the plant. Spray any surrounding susceptible plants as well.
To make a baking soda spray for plants, fill a sprayer with the mixture and evenly coat the entire plant, including the undersides of leaves and stems.
The soap aids in the distribution and adhesion of the mixture to the leaf surface. Discard any unused compound because it loses potency over time.
While this mixture for white mildew on squash leaves and other plants is effective, it could cause some plant leaves to burn. It’s best to water affected plants well a few days before applying this combination and avoid using it in direct sunlight.
Spray a tiny portion of the plant first to see how it reacts before spraying the whole plant. If your plants are under stress from drought, high humidity, or high temperatures, refrain from treating them.
Use this simple remedy to treat patches of powdery mildew on grass, too. It works just as well.
How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Garden Plants – Milk
When exposed to sunshine, milk protein appears to have an antibacterial effect, beneficial to treat powdery mildew fungi.
The light requirement is the reason to apply the solution in direct sun. Although researchers have tried with both whole and skim milk, the protein is found in the milk fat, suggesting whole milk is better to prevent powdery mildew on tomato plants and treat a current infection.
Using a spray bottle, lightly treat all surfaces of the plants with the milk solution. Spraying the plants in direct sunlight is thought to provide the mixture its antifungal qualities because sunlight interacts with the milk fat.
This treatment is effective as a preventative strategy, so don’t be afraid to spray any plants near your infected plant to prevent powdery mildew from growing. Use it to get rid of powdery mildew on roses or prevent it from happening in the first place.
Potassium Bicarbonate for Fungal Disease on Plant Leaves
Potassium bicarbonate is an effective powdery mildew treatment that acts as a fungicide, killing powdery mildew spores on the infected plant.
To get rid of white fungus in soil and on plants themselves, mix the powder into the water and lightly spray the infected leaf and any areas you observe white fungus on garden plants. The potassium bicarbonate kills fungal spores and prevents powdery mildew growth on leaves.
Improve Air Circulation and Management
Poor air circulation helps powdery mildew thrive. Thinning and pruning your plants until they have “breathing room” and collecting up any plant debris improves air circulation in your garden.
This approach aids in the prevention of the spread and growth of any fungi on your plants.
Fertilize damaged plants with a nitrogen fertilizer like compost tea only when you’re sure the powdery mildew outbreak is under control.
Because the spores prefer young, succulent growth, nourishing the soil for the plant while it’s infected might spread the infection.
Avoid watering plants from above (aside from rain), as damp leaves encourage powdery mildew growth.
Treat Powdery Mildew with Neem Oil
Neem oil hails from the seeds of the neem tree, which is native to eastern India and Burma. It is an insecticide and fungicide safe to use at home.
This organic oil degrades quickly and does not harm humans, animals or beneficial predator insects. If powdery mildew fungus has been an issue in your garden in recent seasons, use neem oil to prevent it.
When sprayed as soon as little white spots appear on plant leaves, neem is an effective control measure. Neem oil works like a fungicide to naturally kill powdery mildew spores on an infected leaf.
Combine and spray all plant surfaces, taking care to cover every leaf to control powdery mildew spores.
How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Garden Plants – Vinegar
A compound called acetic acid found in vinegar offers an effective way to treat white spots on garden plants. Using vinegar as a home remedy for powdery mildew is simple.
Combine and spray over all infected leaves and plant surfaces, avoiding soil. Be sure to measure and mix correctly, as higher concentrations of vinegar may burn some plants.
Hydrogen Peroxide Kills Powdery Mildew
How to get rid of powdery mildew on garden plants includes using items you have in your medicine cabinet. Treat powdery mildew naturally with hydrogen peroxide for plants in the house or outside.
Combine in a sprayer and spray directly on the soil and leaves to treat white spots on garden plants.
Following best practices to create an atmosphere not supporting mildew growth is the best defense against powdery mildew. Choose healthy plants and endeavor to keep them healthy.
Plants under stress due to drought, waterlogging, or other inadequate growing conditions invite disease.
Purchase powdery mildew-resistant cultivars, which is crucial if you live in a region where powdery mildew is a recurring problem.
Avoid planting sensitive plant types in the shade, where they may remain damp and provide an optimal environment for fungal spores to proliferate.
If the worst happens in your garden and you require a home remedy for powdery mildew, there are many natural methods to treat white spots on garden plants, so you don’t have to turn to horticultural oil.
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