Powdery mildew is a common and devastating disease that can affect your garden. It’s a problem for both professional growers and home gardeners alike. It can affect your plant’s health and make it look unsightly, which is frustrating for any gardener.
You might want to stick with this post as it will teach you how to prevent powdery mildew in your garden.
Before you learn how to prevent powdery mildew, what does it look like?
Powdery mildew is a fungus type that grows on plants. It can affect a variety of plants, including herbs and vegetables. It is most commonly seen on plants that are under stress. It can be caused by different factors such as:
- Too much water
- Too little water
- Too much sun or shade
The infection happens when spores land on your plant and grow into the powdery white growth that you see.
It doesn’t hurt your plant when you first notice it, but it can cause problems if you don’t take care of it immediately. If you let powdery mildew grow on your plants for too long, it can damage the leaves and make them fall off.
There are various types of powdery mildew, namely
- Erysiphe cichoracearum
- Erysiphe polygoni
- Podosphaera leucotricha
- Sphaerotheca macularis
- Uncinula necator
Ways on how to prevent powdery mildew
Here are three main ways on how to prevent powdery mildew in your garden.
1. Planting resistant varieties
Surprisingly, there are different resistant varieties you could choose to plant. You might want to look at this information.
Powdery mildew species of Erysiphe cichoracearum
This specie targets lettuce, melons, pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, and endive.
How to prevent powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum): You should plant resistant varieties of cucumber and lettuce.
Prevent powdery mildew species of Erysiphe lycopersici
This species targets peas.
How to prevent powdery mildew (Erysiphe lycopersici): You should also plant resistant varieties of peas and sprinkler irrigation.
Prevent powdery mildew species of Erysiphe polygoni
This specie targets beets.
How to prevent powdery mildew (Erysiphe polygoni): You should plant tolerant varieties of it.
Prevent powdery mildew species of Sphaerotheca fuliginea
This specie targets black-eyed peas, beans, okra, and cucurbits.
How to prevent powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fuiliginea): You should plant resistant varieties and utilize fungicides.
2. Cultural prevention
We mentioned earlier different factors that trigger the growth of powdery mildew. But here, we’ll talk about the other cultural practices you can do to prevent it.
It includes the following practices.
- Always plant in sunny locations as much as possible.
- Give your plant nice air circulation.
- Do not apply too much fertilizer.
- Utilize overhead sprinklers.
3. Use of fungicide
The last resort on how to prevent powdery mildew is fungicides. You can try the following least-toxic fungicides.
a. Neem oil
Neem is an organic insecticide that controls a wide range of pests, including aphids, thrips, mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Neem oil can also be utilized as a fungicide to control powdery mildew.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of neem oil with 1 gallon of water in a sprayer and apply this mixture weekly during warm weather when plants are actively growing.
You can also mix two tablespoons of neem oil into 1 quart of water and then pour this mixture over the soil around your plant’s roots to help prevent powdery mildew from growing inside the soil as well.
b. Jojoba oil
Jojoba oil comes from the seed of a desert shrub called jojoba, which grows in parts of North America and Mexico. It contains a fatty acid called wax ester that destroys powdery mildew spores before they can take root in your plant’s leaves and stems.
To make sure this method works for you, spray your plants with jojoba oil every two weeks during periods when conditions tend toward colder weather and higher humidity, the optimal conditions under which powdery mildew thrives!
You can do some things to prevent powdery mildew, one of which is using sulfur. Sulfur is a natural fungicide that’s safe for humans. But It’s also safe for plants, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your plants with sulfur.
Mix two tablespoons of sulfur powder with 1 gallon of water to use sulfur. Then spray your plant with this mixture every 7-10 days until the plant has stopped showing signs of powdery mildew. It should take about five treatments to get rid of the mildew completely.
d. Biological fungicides
Biological fungicides are made from naturally occurring organisms called microorganisms. They kill mold and mildew by attaching themselves to the surface of the fungus and releasing substances that kill the fungus from within.
These substances are harmless to humans, animals, and plants, so you don’t have to worry about hurting anything but your powdery mildew problem!
The biological fungicide Serenade is an effective way to prevent and control fungal diseases of plants. It’s a unique product because it uses a fungus that actually attacks pathogens. This is an excellent option for organic growers, who are very concerned with their products’ impact on the environment.
The best time to apply biological fungicides is when your plant shows signs of infection. The sooner you act after noticing symptoms, the better chance there is for completely eradicating the fungus before it spreads too far or becomes too severe. And that’s when you’ll really see the benefits of using biological fungicides!
Important things to remember in preventing powdery mildew!
Powdery mildew is a persistent problem, but there are steps you can take to prevent it, so let’s recap some of the simplest yet effective ways to take it!
The first step is ensuring your plants get enough light: powdery mildew thrives in the dark. If your garden is in a place where sunlight is limited or inconsistent, try using grow lights to provide your plants with the light they need.
The second step is to ensure that you’re watering your plants correctly. Don’t overwater them! Ensure that your soil drains well and that water can evaporate from the top of the pot. You should also water your plant from below rather than above so it doesn’t get wet from above and hang onto moisture.
Finally, check for pests regularly and remove them promptly when you find them! This will help keep your plants healthy as they begin their flowering stage.