Answer

Powdery Mildew

Question

I recently learned that the beautiful plant I have growing next to our backyard deck, is none other than phlox! It is covered in a white powdery fungus. How do I deal with this?

Answer

Powdery mildew is a fungus that reveals itself as a powder-like coating over a plant's leaves. Rarely will it kill a plant but some perennials like phlox and shrubs such as lilacs, crape myrtles and roses can be damaged.

A heavy infestation of powdery mildew can cause a plant to lose its leaves, diminishing its vigor and causing it to not flower quite as much.

If you're having this problem in your garden there are two approaches you can try. The first is prevention. You should remove and dispose of infected plants and leaves by burning them or putting them in the garbage. Don't put infected leaves in your compost because you will just harbor spores for another round next season.

The second line of defense is to take action by spraying. But before using a conventional fungicide, try some of the new safer alternatives. I use a sulfur-based product. Since it's not a synthetic fungicide I don't have to worry about it damaging the environment. Spray your phlox about every 7 to 10 days when mildew is a problem.

One home remedy that some people have found useful as a preventative to powdery mildew is using this formula:
1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of dormant oil (found in garden centers with the other garden chemicals)
1/2 teaspoon of insecticidal soap or dishwashing soap
1 gallon of water

It's important that a plant is well hydrated before applying this solution. Water deeply a couple of days before spraying and don't spray during the heat of the day.

Share this articlePrint this article
Related articlesSave this article in your favorites

Comments

herbs

by catzma1 on June 20, 2014 06:13
How do you pick herbs to downsize bush and harvest from a herb bush?











Fungus gnats

by Norma5Star on May 8, 2014 12:43
Wonderful! I am happy to finally have an answer to those tiny, annoying pests! Thank you P. Allen for saving Mom\'s house plants.

poultry problems

by dotti on September 15, 2013 02:27
I want to raise chickens and ducks but I don\'t have a coop. I live on 40 acre farm in ND. I am deciding between 6+ breeds of ducks and chickens but cant decide they\'re all pretty good egg layers and docile. I want pure breeds and have to have to have them all. What should I do? Where should I order them? Please help.

Virginia Creeper

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:41
Just another thought... the VC and the BK in my previous post are also nearly identical.

Targeting Just the Weed

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:39
If you want to use the synthetic weed killer close to good plants, try making a bottomless box out of an old cardboard one. Mark the outside of the box as such before you start spraying. Then place the box over the offending plant and spray... just it. Trick is to match the size of the box to the size of the weed you want to kill. But boxes are easy to come by, so you can make more than one. Had to do this to target some Bush Killer that came too close in my yard, and it did protect. Getting rid of the BK, however... well... :(

Dogwood tree

by gardenman18 on July 20, 2013 04:06
I want to learn how to plant a dogwood tree right way.

Clay Ground

by jackson.1943@yahoo.com on February 3, 2013 09:18
Will Roses do good in very bad clay ground?

Theme music

by betsi.vesser on October 13, 2012 09:15
I love this piece of music! It is so calming and just right for all those who love gardens. It actually describes my 94 year old mom who still likes to get out and work around in her garden! Thank you for giving us this lovely piece (peace) of music on each show.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.