Powdery mildew is a fungal disease caused by numerous species of fungi. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments and overwinters in the soil. Powdery mildew forms spores that are spread by wind, insects, and runoff water, spreading the disease to other plants. Unlike most fungi, the spores germinate on the surface of plant parts without the presence of free water. A distinction is made between powdery mildew and downy mildew. Powdery mildew is a worldwide threat. There are hundreds of species of fungi that can cause it, and the ability to infect more than 10,000 plant species. We provide information on what home remedies for powdery mildew can be used to successfully control the fungal disease.
Table of Contents
- What are the different types of powdery mildew?
- What home remedies for powdery mildew are effective?
What are the different types of powdery mildew?
- Downy mildew
This powdery mildew usually starts as yellow spots, but turns brown over time. It is most commonly found on potatoes, grapes and other agricultural crops.
- Powdery mildew – “fair-weather fungi.”
This powdery mildew starts as gray or white spots, but turns yellowish-brown or black over time. It occurs primarily on flowering plants. You can find some pictures in our article.
You can successfully fight powdery mildew with natural remedies , such as baking soda and milk. However, these home remedies are hardly effective against downy mildew.
What home remedies against powdery mildew are effective?
Fight powdery mildew with milk
Spraying areas of plants with milk that are showing symptoms helps control powdery mildew, especially when used in the early stages of infection. This technique is becoming popular with many organic growers around the world and has been shown to be effective in studies conducted over more than 60 years on tomatoes, grapevines, apples, squash, cucumbers, zucchini and other plant species. Scientists are not sure why the milk is so effective, but they believe that the milk interacts with the sun to produce free radicals that are toxic to the fungus.
2 ways to use:
* Mix 60 parts water with 40 parts milk and spray the affected plants every two weeks. You can also use whole milk without dilution for a strong effect.
* Mix 30 g of milk powder with 2 l of water and spray the affected plants every two weeks.
What helps with powdery mildew? Vinegar
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is very effective in controlling powdery mildew. Be careful not to make the mixture too strong, as the acidity of the vinegar can burn plant leaves. Mix 4 tablespoons of vinegar with 4 liters of water. Reapply the mixture every three days.
Natural remedy for powdery mildew
Baking soda has a pH of 9, which is very high. Treating with baking soda raises the pH of the plants and creates a very alkaline environment that kills fungi. There are mixed reports of baking soda’s success in treating severe cases, making it more suitable as a preventative treatment than as a fungicide.
Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid hand soap with 4 gallons of water. Spray the solution on the infested leaves and discard any leftover solution. Do not use the mixture in daylight and it is best to test it first to see if the solution causes sunburn on the plant.
Home remedy for mildew: garlic with neem oil.
Garlic has a high sulfur content and is an effective antifungal agent. Garlic oil can be purchased in stores if you do not want to make the solution at home. It works best when added to organic oil blends.
Crush six garlic cloves and add them to 30 ml of an organic oil, such as neem oil, and 30 ml of rubbing alcohol. Let the solution steep for 2 days. You should then strain the mixture and keep the liquid and crushed garlic.
Soak the garlic again (this time for a day in 240 ml of water). Strain the mixture and discard the crushed garlic. Add the oil-alcohol mixture and garlic water to 4 liters of water. Spray your plants , covering only the leaves.
What to do about powdery mildew? Trimming or pruning
Remove the infested leaves, stems, buds, fruits or vegetables from the plant and discard them. Some perennials can be cut to the ground so they will resprout. Do not compost damaged or diseased foliage, as spores can spread and survive in the composted material. Disinfect pruners and all tools after working on infected plants.
Home remedies for powdery mildew on plants: Mouthwash
Some people swear by mouthwash as an effective fungicide, but it is not organic. Add 250 ml of mouthwash to 750 ml of water.
Control powdery mildew naturally with neem oil.
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds and fruit of the evergreen neem tree and is potent enough to kill powdery mildew in less than 24 hours. The oil works by disrupting the plant’s metabolism and stopping spore production.
Mix 3 tablespoons of neem oil with 4 liters of water and spray the affected plants every 7 – 14 days. Be careful not to sunburn the leaves and do not spray the buds and flowers of the plant.