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 Pinnate Leaves

Hello, My Name is Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew May Be Your Arch-Nemesis! 

Powdery mildew is a major challenge for both global food producers and small scale gardeners. There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of this pesky mildew.

Prevention is Your Bestie

First and foremost, prevention is key. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Once it is in your environment, it is very difficult to eradicate. Taking preventative measures will help to mitigate risk and potentially save your garden from infestation.  

Weather Resistant

Powdery mildew spores are very hardy and weather resistant. They can even survive throughout the winter. Carefully screen any plants before bringing outdoor plants indoors for the colder season or when integrating new plants into your grow. Examine both sides of the leaves, fruits, and stems. If you have space, consider creating a ‘quarantine’ area where you can put new plants for the first few weeks. This may seem like a drastic step but consider that eradicating powdery mildew can be a significant amount of work.

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