Like humans, plants are susceptible to all types of disease and bacteria that spread through the air. Unfortunately, some plants aren't as hardy as humans, and these diseases can prove fatal when not corrected or prevented correctly.
If there's one pesky disease that tends to crop up far more often than most, it's powdery mildew on plants. And the reality is that almost no plant is immune to it. So while it's not necessarily a plant killer, powdery mildew is tricky, re-occurring infection to get rid of.
But what exactly is powdery mildew, and how can you prevent it from ravaging your prized plant collection? Perfect your green thumb and keep your plants in top condition with the help of this blog.
What Is Powdery Mildew, Anyway?
It's a fungal disease that impacts most plant species, especially in warm and dry climates. This plant disease is so prevalent because of the many different species of fungi that cause powdery mildew to grow.
Certain species of plants are a little more vulnerable than others, such as crab apple trees, lilacs, roses, squash, cucumbers, bee balm, and zinnias.
While you can find powdery mildew in almost any climate, its conditions have to be favorable for it to grow and spread. I.e., it would be best if you had high humidity at night but low humidity during the day and an average temperature of 70-80 degrees. This is why powdery mildew tends to make its appearance during the spring and fall months.
The fungi spores that cause powdery mildew spread on the air from one leaf surface to the next -- much like mold spores. This is especially common during dry spells with warm conditions. The spores can also hide inside plant debris and buds and spread via insects, wind, and water.
What Exactly Does Powdery Mildew Look Like?
First thing's first, you have to know what you're looking for when it comes to a disease such as powdery mildew. This is because it can look like just about anything else, which is confusing.
Typically, powdery mildew presents itself as splotches of dust in a white or grey powder. These splotches appear on the stems and leaves of any infected plant. However, while the splotches on the top of the leaves are the most obvious sign to look for, the disease tends to manifest on the underside of the leaves.
Powdery mildew can also spread to the flower buds and fruit of different plant species. However, it's worth noting that powdery mildew is a host-specific disease. This means that the breed of fungi infecting each plant is specific to that plant. In other words, powdery mildew is not likely to spread from the roses in your garden to other plant species.
How to Treat Powdery Mildew on Plants
Now that you have an idea of what you're looking for, how do you go about treating this pesky plant disease? You might hear that the best solution to eliminating this disease is destroying all your infected plants. But this is hardly a great solution when you've cultivated a garden you're super proud of!
Forget about this drastic measure because there are a few less invasive yet reliable options:
1. Remove Infected Parts
Instead of uprooting an entire plant that's infected, you can take some time to remove the infected parts of each plant. This might include areas such as the leaves and flowers.
Use plant clippers and gently remove these plant parts, dispose of them (not in your compost) and wash your hands and the clippers to prevent the spreading of spores.
2. Use Ozonated Water to Tackle the Infection
What is ozonated water? In short, it's a combination of volatile ozone molecules and plain old water. When the two mix together, ozone molecules bind with unstable molecules present in the water. This might include the likes of viruses, fungi, bacteria, and other atoms. This renders these molecules inert -- i.e., they're no longer chemically reactive. The result is a type of water that's extra pure.
Studies show that this type of water is a good measure for killing off the fungus that encourages the growth of powdery mildew. But it's worth noting that ozone water is not a full-proof solution for eliminating this disease. It can only decrease instances of infections.
The best way to use ozonated water to combat powdery mildew is by misting it onto the infected areas of your plants. This is important to ensure that the ozonated water makes contact with the fungus infecting the plant.
Ozonated water also needs time to work its magic. So make sure to mist your plants for at least two minutes each, misting liberally over all the infected areas.
3. Use the Tri-Oxy COMPLETE System
This is a proven system created by Creatrix Solutions that centers on a portable ozone water generator. This generator aims to disinfect and sterilize your plants as and when needed. It produces ozonated water at four parts per million to help you keep powdery mildew under control.
In essence, the generator passes tap water through it, mixing with ozone gas molecules. You can then use this water, as and when needed, to keep your plants in tip-top shape.
How to Keep Powdery Mildew at Bay
As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. And when it comes to the prevention of powdery mildew, or any plant disease for that matter, you want to implement preventative practices.
This means that you need to maintain the best environment that prevents mildew growth on your plants. Some expert tips include:
- Choosing healthy plants for your garden -- already stressed plants tend to invite disease that can spread.
- Think about buying mildew-resistant plant cultivars, especially if you live in a region with the perfect environment for mildew growth.
- Don't plant susceptible plant species in the shade where they can remain damp. This allows spores to grow and spread at an even faster rate.
Finally, you also want to check all your plants regularly for any sinister growth, coloring, or patches that just shouldn't be there. Remember to inspect the underside and tops of all leaves, flowers, bulbs, and the plant stem.
Keep Your Plant Life Alive and Thriving
Powdery mildew on plants may be expected, but it's not a death sentence. The best way to tackle this plant disease is by being proactive. The sooner you trim back infected parts and apply the right products, such as ozonated water, the better.
Invest in your plant life with Creatrix Solutions -- explore our Tri-Oxy COMPLETE solution for more!