Have you ever seen a white or grey spot on leaves? That is powdery mildew, a type of disease afflicting the plants. It shows that not only humans but also plants are vulnerable to disease. Since powdery mildew appears quite often, you should learn how to get rid of powdery mildew.
Before you learn how to get rid of powdery mildew on plants, you better understand what exactly powdery mildew is. It will be much easier to cure a disease by recognizing its symptoms and the cause of the disease.
- 1 What Is Powdery Mildew?
- 2 Powdery Mildew Symptoms
- 3 How Does Powdery Mildew Spread?
- 4 How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew
- 4.1 1. Use Fungicide
- 4.2 2. Dissect Infected Plants
- 4.3 3. Homemade Powdery Mildew Spray Easy to Make
- 5 How to Prevent Powdery Mildew
What Is Powdery Mildew?
Among all types of diseases afflicting plants, powdery mildew is the most popular one since the symptoms are easy to recognize. No wonder powdery mildew gets gardeners annoyed since this disease happens a lot. They have to find out how to get rid of powdery mildew.
Basically, powdery mildew is a fungal disease infecting plant. There are many species of fungi that cause powdery mildew. The most famous species are Erysiphe chicoracearum and Podosphaera xanthii.
In agriculture, the existence of powdery mildew is quite troublesome. It acts as a threat to the crop yields. Powdery mildew infecting plants can drastically reduce the crop yields. In that case, farmers need to think how to get rid of powdery mildew.
Due to a large number of powdery mildew species, each fungus can only infect the host that they can adapt with. In other words, powdery mildew cannot infect all types of plants. For instance, powdery mildew infecting roses cannot infect other types of plants.
Powdery Mildew Symptoms
The easiest way to recognize powdery mildew is by taking a look at the spots that appear on stems or leaves. Once you find a white or grey spot on the leaves, you should take care of them immediately. Otherwise, the spots will gradually spread to other parts of the plant.
In the first stage of symptoms, most people are not aware of a few white spots on stems or leaves. By the time, the white spots become denser and larger, they are too late to realize that powdery mildew has progressed that much. They wonder how to get rid of powdery mildew.
The advanced stages of this disease will turn the leaves into yellow color. The leaves gradually change into brown and curl, afterwards they defoliate ahead of time. Eventually it will decrease the crop quality, particularly trees and flowering plants.
How Does Powdery Mildew Spread?
Actually, the powdery mildew can appear on any part of the plants. However, the most frequently infected parts are leaves and stems. Powdery mildew can reproduce either by fertilization (fusion of gametes) or agamogenesis (without involving male or female gametes) .
Considering how fast the fungi spore can spread around the plants, you need to prepare tricks of how to get rid of powdery mildew. If you do nothing about it, then your plants will suffer this contagious disease in more advanced stages.
Just like other fungi cycle life, powdery mildew produces a lot of spores to regenerate. In agamogenesis, the powdery mildew just spreads the spores all over the plants. This method results in fungi offspring having the same genetics as the mother fungi.
Powdery mildew can reproduce with fertilization as well. They recombine the material genetics of ascocarps. Ascocarps is the fruiting body of the fungi. Both fertilization or agamogenesis methods allow the powdery mildew to spread rapidly on the surface of plants.
How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew
It is possible to dissect parts of the plants afflicted with the powdery mildew. It only works if the area infected by powdery mildew is quite small. What if the powdery mildew has spread all over the plants? Can you bring yourself to remove the whole parts of the plants?
Dissecting the infected plants is not a good option when the powdery mildew outbreak happens. Hence you should think how to get rid of powdery mildew effectively without sacrificing your plants. Here are several ideas to overcome powdery mildew outbreak in your garden.
1. Use Fungicide
As gardeners, it is important to provide fungicide since most varieties of plants are vulnerable to fungal disease. There are many types of fungicide in markets. This is how to get rid of powdery mildew effectively. Even you can make fungicide on your own.
Types of Powdery Mildew Fungicide
There are several types of fungicide that can cure powdery disease instantly. Most fungicides available in the market come from chemical substances. If you ask how to get rid of powdery mildew effectively, then the chemical fungicide is the answer.
Make sure you follow the guidelines to remove powdery mildew using fungicide. In order to get optimal results, you should apply fungicide on a regular basis. Here are some chemical fungicides that people commonly use.
As mentioned before, powdery mildew originates from various specieses. Hence, the manufacturers also create fungicide which is appropriate to certain species. Propiconazole belongs to chemical fungicide to remove powdery mildew on turfgrasses varieties.
Propiconazole works best on plants such as peanuts, wheat, corn, mushroom, wild rice, almond, oats, apricots, plums, nectarines, prunes, peaches, lemons, pecans, and sorghum. It can halt the cellular growth of the fungi effectively.
Among all types of powdery mildew fungicide, we can consider the triadimefon as the most flexible one. It can kill any species of powdery mildew. Farmers commonly use triadimefon to treat corn, cotton, barley, rye, oats, wheat, sorghums, banana, and pineapple.
It is also suitable to treat nonfood varieties like ornamental plants, Christmas trees, turf, pine seedlings, and landscaping. Well, you won’t believe how to get rid of powdery mildew with triadimefon is a piece of cake.
Myclobutanil strikes directly the ergosterol inside the fungal cell membranes. Farmers usually apply this fungicide on strawberries, grapes and almond crops. Its acute toxicity rating is relatively low.
Penconazole belongs to triazole fungicide to control powdery mildew on plants such as grapes, apples, and vegetables. It restrains the sterol biosynthesis which ensures viability and growth of fungi.
Hexaconazole can remove any kind of fungi, especially Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes. It is very common to treat powdery mildew on vegetables and fruits. Several Asian countries use it to overcome rice sheath blight, disease caused by fungi that reduce corps yields.
2. Dissect Infected Plants
Another way to overcome the powdery mildew is by cutting the infected parts of the plants. This method only works on minor infections. If you intend to preserve organic plants without chemical substances, you should consider this method.
Once you notice a sign of powdery mildew on a leaf, you can remove it right away with plant clippers. You need to inspect other parts of the plants that probably have the same symptoms. So, you can prevent powdery mildew from spreading.
After you cut the infected parts of the plants, make sure you clean up the clippers using alcohol and wash your hands. Don’t let the infected leaf fall on the area near the plants or make compost out of the infected leaf. Otherwise the spore will spread on another part of the plants.
If you want to know how to get rid of powdery mildew without using chemical products, then you should try dissecting the infected part. You just need a little effort to check all parts of the plants regularly.
With this, you can halt the disease’s progress, once you spot a small sign of powdery mildew. This solution is best for you who like to grow organic vegetables or fruits. Hence, varieties of plants in your garden are free from chemical substances.
3. Homemade Powdery Mildew Spray Easy to Make
It is true that you can remove the powdery mildew with fungicide available in markets. However, it doesn’t kill the fungi 100%. At least it can control the spread of powdery mildew. Apart from fungicide in markets, there is an alternative way to control the growth of powdery mildew other than fungicide.
You can consider homemade powdery mildew spray as an economic solution. It is very simple to make fungicide from home remedies such as mouthwash, baking soda, potassium bicarbonate, vinegar, milk, neem oil and sulfur. Surely those ingredients are easy to obtain.
Powdery Mildew Treatment Baking Soda
Baking soda is the best way to get homemade organic fungicide. However, you cannot remove the powdery mildew with baking soda alone. There is still another substance required to create an effective fungicide.
How to get rid of powdery mildew with baking soda? The ingredients you need are 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap, 1 teaspoon of dormant oil, and a gallon of water. You just have to mix those ingredients and spray them toward the plants every week.
Many people assume that mouthwash is capable of killing bacteria in your mouth. It drives them to think How to get rid of powdery mildew with mouthwash, probably will bring the satisfying result. Mouthwash containing ethanol might work to remove the powdery mildew.
Potassium bicarbonate can get rid of spores of powdery mildew in no time. It is possible to protect your organic plants with this homemade fungicide. It can work as effectively as baking soda.
Vinegar that contains acetic acid perfectly removes the powdery mildew. Be careful in using vinegar, because the excessive amount of vinegar will potentially burn your plants. Make sure you create vinegar concentration not more than 5%.
How to get rid of powdery mildew with vinegar? All you need is 5% acetic acid of apple vinegar and water. You can pour 2 or 3 teaspoons of vinegar into a gallon of water to make vinegar spray that is ready to kill the powdery mildew.
Milk is the easiest ingredient to launch a counterattack against powdery mildew. Some people believe that powdery mildew treatment milk consisting of natural compounds can fight against disease and improve the immune system of the plants.
Although the effectiveness of milk against powdery mildew is still unclear, it won’t hurt you to try this simplest and cheapest method. To make natural fungicide out of a glass of milk, you need to add 2 glasses of water. You can apply this mixture on infected plants every week.
An alternative way to discard powdery mildew is neem oil. Most people use this oil as organic pest and disease control. Neem oil originates from neem trees. You may consider it as a natural insecticide or fungicide. It is tolerant to beneficial mammals or insects.
It is true that sulfur can stop the fungal disease progress. It becomes more effective if you mix sulfur and hydrated lime. People call this mixture a Bordeaux mix. However, using this mixture can be a double-edged sword.
Sulfur might work perfectly once it comes in contact with the powdery mildew. The fungi spore will stop growing for sure. The consequence is that sulfur can burn tissues of plants. It also potentially damages the beneficial insects or microorganisms in soil.
Besides, sulfur is quite dangerous to mammals and humans, since it is moderately toxic. Therefore, to use it as fungicide requires extra caution. You may choose another solution of how to get rid of powdery mildew safely.
How to Prevent Powdery Mildew
In order to keep your plants healthy, you should think ont only how to get rid of powdery mildew but also how to prevent it. It is better to prevent powdery mildew from infecting your plants than getting rid of the existing one.
1. Keep The Environment in Check
Fundamentally, fungi like warm and humid places. Since fungi is the cause of powdery mildew disease, you should make sure the environment condition doesn’t allow the fungi to grow. This disease often happens in shady areas.
No wonder powdery mildew frequently happens to the plants in greenhouse or indoor plants. Because they grow in shady areas, fungi tend to grow easily. Enough sunlight and good temperature can prevent powdery mildew widespread.
2. Choose Healthy Plants
Before you start growing plants, make sure you choose the healthy ones. The healthy plants might be insusceptible toward any disease. You should prevent plants from overwatering, drought, and other bad growth conditions causing plants vulnerable to the disease.
2. Find Resistant Cultivars
Researchers work on gene mutation in order to create resistant cultivars. These varieties are immune to powdery mildew. You may contact county extension services in your area to find out specific resistant varieties. It is better than wondering how to get rid of powdery mildew.
Those are several ideas that might answer your question how to get rid of powdery mildew. You can consider which one suits you best. Since gardening is not simply growing plants or harvesting, but also protecting them wholeheartedly. Are you ready for that?