For those of you gardening in British ColumbiaÃ¢Ë†â€™congratulations! You`ve been enjoying a lovely warm summer, but the rest of Canada, well, we're still waiting for summer to arrive. So far, Ontario's summer has been cool and wet. I recently read an article in the Globe and Mail, and it said that this has been the coldest July in 17 years in southern Ontario. The average temperature has been three degrees below normal and the average rainfall; well let's just say my gardens are still soaked! The only good thing about this rainy July is that my grass is lush and green. Of course, I have to mow it every week, but normally at this time of year it's already become a crunchy brown carpet.
Because of the rain, some of the plants in my garden are suffering from a serious case of powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is caused by Sphaerotheca fuliginea. The leaves on my phlox, roses, cucumbers and even the Manitoba maple tree are covered with grayish-white, powdery spots. Although powdery mildew isn't pretty, it is rarely fatal, so I'm not that concerned. To combat this pesky fungicide, I prune the infected plant parts and get rid of them. This helps improve the air circulation around the plant. Since powdery mildew likes a moist, humid environment, this helps combat the infection. You could apply fungicide, but there is also a home remedy using baking soda, which helps reduces the plants risk of becoming infected in the first place.
Homemade Powdery Mildew Fungicide
- 3 ½ litters of water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoons liquid soap
A few days prior to applying the mixture, water your plants well. Avoid treating the plant in direct sunlight. Apply the homemade fungicide with a spray bottle, ensuring you get full coverage.
I've also heard spraying a concoction of milk (1 part milk to 9 parts water) that helps reduce a powdery mildew infection, but I've never tried this remedy myself.
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