It may start as a few unsightly leaves, covered in gray or white powdery patches or spots. Left unchecked, powdery mildew will spread to other plants, especially in warm, dry conditions .
It will weaken plants and cause the leaves to curl up, twist, or dry out. This type of fungal disease can affect fruit trees, vegetable crops, and other plants in your garden.
Here’s how to get rid of powdery mildew naturally.
1. Baking Soda
This is sodium bicarbonate. But, you can also use potassium bicarbonate to kill powdery mildew spores. Both remedies can effectively control this plant disease.
Make a homemade powdery mildew spray using baking soda. For the recipe, combine one tablespoon of baking soda, half a teaspoon of pure castile soap, and a gallon of water.
Shake well and spray the leaves and stems. You can also apply it to the soil surface around the base of plants.
Use as a preventative measure or at the earliest signs of the disease.
Organic gardeners often use vinegar mixture as an anti-fungal treatment for plants.
The acetic acid in it makes it effective at controlling powdery mildew. But, the solution needs to be fairly weak so as not to burn plants.
Apple cider vinegar is the preferred choice. To use apple cider vinegar for powdery mildew, mix 3 tablespoons with a gallon of water. Spray onto plants every three days.
3. Neem Oil
This oil has been used for generations by gardeners as a natural insecticide and fungicide.
To use neem oil for powdery mildew, combine 3 tablespoons of the oil, one teaspoon of liquid soap, and a gallon of water. Next, add to a spray container and spray leaves to kill the fungus spores.
Alternatively, you can purchase neem oil concentrate that is ready to use.
To avoid leaf burn, use the solution early in the morning or in the evening. Moreover, this is a good organic choice that will not harm beneficial insects in the garden.
4. Improve Air Circulation
To reduce the spread of the disease, give plants more room to breathe.
Pruning and thinning out if necessary will prevent overcrowding; thus, providing better air circulation.
5. Avoid Overhead Watering
Fighting powdery mildew is not helped by overhead watering or getting the leaves wet. This increases the risk of dampness and humidity that will encourage mildew growth .
6. Insecticidal Soap
Using a soapy water solution to rid the garden of pests and diseases is nothing new. Moreover, you can get insecticidal soap as a ready-to-use spray.
Brands such as Bonide carry insecticidal soaps. These contain active ingredients that work against certain pests and plant diseases, including powdery mildew.
Spray it onto problem areas at 7-day intervals.
This commercial product contains copper, another remedy used to control fungal diseases organically.
Cueva is a liquid copper fungicide that works against powdery mildew, bacterial cankers, anthracnose, brown rot, and more.
The product penetrates the cells of the disease, causing fatal cell leakage. Moreover, Cueva is OMRI-Listed for safe use on organic crops.
8. Bonide Liquid Copper Fungicide
This is another powdery mildew fungicide with natural copper formulation. It is also effective in treating rust on plants and downy mildew.
Moreover, the product is safe to use in your organic garden. Furthermore, all kinds of ornamental, vegetable crops and fruit trees can benefit from this ready-to-use spray.
Banish is a popular and powerful all-natural organic fungicide. It contains Geraniol, a geranium oil plant extract.
The product works to prevent mildew growth. It does so by disrupting spore germination and mycelium growth, ultimately destroying the pathogen cell.
However, it is very potent, so use it according to the instructions that come with your purchase.
This is a strange remedy and one not yet fully explained scientifically. But, many gardeners find that it works.
To get rid of powdery mildew with milk, make up a mixture of milk and water (40/60 ratio). Next, remove all affected leaves before applying the spray.
Afterward, spray the solution onto your plants, covering all surfaces. Repeat after 10-14 days and after a heavy rain shower.
This milk treatment works great on pumpkin plants, cucumbers, and other plants susceptible to powdery mildew.
Here is another popular natural remedy for powdery mildew. Garlic is naturally high in sulfur, making it an effective powdery mildew treatment.
Therefore, blend 2 bulbs of garlic in two cups of water. Next, strain the mixture and add in one teaspoon of liquid soap.
Afterward, dilute a quarter cup of the garlic mixture in a gallon of water. Finally, use this as a foliar spray.
A far easier option is to purchase a product containing garlic that fights against this and other fungal diseases.
12. Compost Tea
Though using compost tea for powdery mildew is questionable, the tea has anti-fungal effects. To make compost tea for plants, add some organic compost to a bucket of water.
Leave it to steep for a while and then use the solution to water plants. This method will help strengthen plants against some plant diseases.
Cutting back plants to let in more air is sometimes not enough to control mildew.
Prune small trees and shrubs that are cutting off the air supply. Also, trim off any dead or diseased plant parts to maintain disease-free plants.
Mildews are an unwelcome common sight in even the best-kept gardens. Fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies and natural solutions to stop or prevent the problem.