Powdery Mildew of on a leaf of perennials

Stop It Before It Starts: Powdery Mildew

Every seasoned gardener has had at least one bout with powdery mildew. It is annoyingly pervasive, and no one wants to see those tell-tale spots on their plants. It seems that everywhere we look- trees, landscaping, gardens- there is no escaping it.  So what exactly is it, and how can you keep it from stunting your plants’ growth and destroying your yield?  How can you avoid what seems to be everywhere?

What is powdery mildew?

Powdering mildew is a generic term that refers to a group of related fungi that are plant-specific and share common symptoms.  Because they are plant-specific, the powdery mildew that you have on your ornamentals will not necessarily spread to your vegetable garden.  Despite this, powdery mildew does spread easily from plant to plant and spores can easily travel through the air.  They can even move through screen windows, so your indoor plants are at just as much risk as your outdoor ones.

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Powdery Mildew: Biological Controls

Biological controls are living organisms used to prevent and treat pests in your garden. One great benefit of utilizing biological controls is that it allows you to be approved for certified organic gardening due to the absence of chemicals.

Why Should I Use Biological Controls?

Compost teas and products like Photosynthesis Plus, Actinovate, & Serenade contain numerous microorganisms (microbes). When you spray them onto your plants, these beneficial little lifeforms fight the good fight against the pathogenic ones. In addition to killing fungi, like powdery mildew, they can also prevent them in the following ways: increased overall plant health, improved disease resistance and by establishing beneficial microbial colonies which occupy space and consume plant byproducts that could otherwise end up supporting disease. In other words, you use these little buggers to create a militia of good guys that kick out the rowdy ones that would otherwise be hanging around and eating your goods.

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