In Colorado, recent Front Range flooding and day after day of torrential rain and high humidity left lots of powdery mildew in gardens.
Powdery mildew appears on plant leaves as white splotches. Yes, powdery mildew does have a powdery look, almost as if somebody sprinkled talcum on your plants. Some ornamentals and vegetables are especially vulnerable to the disease. The mildew is unsightly and can spread quickly through tiny spores.
The problem is prominent in Denver after flooding rains and unnaturally high relative humidity, but powdery mildew can creep up just about anywhere or any time given the right conditions for the mildew to grow—especially late in the growing season when plants are crowded.
You can combat powdery mildew with a simple solution of water and baking soda.
• Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in one quart of water.
• Add the solution to a spray bottle. Shake well before using.
• Spray your plants with the solution. Repeat as needed, making sure to cover all areas of the plant.
• If your diseased plant is in a moveable container, move the pot to an area with plenty of air circulation.
The baking soda solution helps correct the pH and quickly kills the mildew.
A few applications of the baking soda solution should cure your plant. But if the disease continues, do not compost your plant suffering from powdery mildew. The disease can persist in your compost bin. Instead, if you're getting rid of the plant, place it in a plastic bag and tie the bag carefully to prevent the powdery mildew spores from spreading.
For more about powdery mildew, consult this article from Colorado State University.
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