Powdery Mildew

Ever walked into your garden and it looked like some evil fairies had come into your garden and sprinkled flour all over the leaves of your plants? If you have even done any vegetable gardening you have probably seen this. Your plants have Powdery Mildew. It's called Powdery Mildew and if not checked can destroy your plants.

Have you ever heard the term "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" Well it is true in this case as well.

Ever walked into your garden and it looked like some evil fairies had come into your garden and sprinkled flour all over the leaves of your plants? If you have even done any vegetable gardening you have probably seen this. Your plants have Powdery Mildew.

If not checked powdery mildew can destroy your plants. Have you ever heard the term "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" Well it is true in this case as well.

According to Almanac.com, powdery mildew is a "fungal disease that affects a wide variety of plants. There are many different species of powdery mildew, and each species attacks a range of different plants. In the garden, commonly affected plants include cucurbits (squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons), nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers), roses, and legumes (beans, peas)."

How to Identify Powdery Mildew

Plants infected with powdery mildew look as if they have been dusted with flour. Powdery mildew usually starts off as circular, powdery white spots, which can appear on leaves, stems, and sometimes fruit. Powdery mildew usually covers the upper part of the leaves, but may grow on the undersides as well. Young foliage is most susceptible to damage. Leaves turn yellow and dry out. The fungus might cause some leaves to twist, break, or become disfigured. The white spots of powdery mildew will spread to cover most of the leaves or affected areas. The leaves, buds, and growing tips will become disfigured as well. These symptoms usually appear late in the growing season.

Homemade Treatments

A simple treatment to control powdery mildew is right in your kitchen. Making a baking soda solution will help control powdery mildew at the first signs of the disease. It creates an inhospitable environment for the fungus to take hold.

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 quart of water. Spray plants thoroughly, as the solution will only kill fungus that it comes into contact with. Make sure to spray underneath the leaves as well. Do this once a week during the growing season.

If your plant is heavily infected, you will want to remove all of the leaves and dispose of them. Do not put them into your compost pile as the spores may survive to reinfect your plants when you add the composted material back into your garden. You will also want to disinfect any gardening tools you use to remove the leaves.

If your entire plant is heavily infected, you may need to remove the plant entirely.