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Mildew

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The extra rain in the spring is very welcome.  All plants are looking so much better for it, but some diseases like mildews are also doing very nicely.

For example fungal related problems are much more common.  What do you about these problems besides despair?  Do not stress sometimes there is not much that can be done.  Active gardeners will not be satisfied with doing nothing.  So here is a list of things that will help.

Try and understand what it is you're dealing with.  A fungus is spread by spores, usually carried by water and rain, sometimes plant material infected can be transported and also act as an agent.  Trying to reduce overhead watering obviuosly you cannot stop the rain but any small measures will be better than nothing.

 Keeping the garden clean around susceptible plants is necessary, by removing diseased leaves, fruit and prunings.  Improve soil drainage to reduce soil borne spores.

Prune plants to allow good air circulation and for deciduous plants give them a good clean up winter spray with winter oil and lime sulphur.

Resistant plant varieties may need or should be considered for example euonymous and crepe myrtle can suffer fungal attack particularly in crowded gardens with limited air flows.

Before you rush out and spray chemicals everywhere think carefully about the chemical and whether it will work.  For example if you have just noticed mildew on your apples or lots of black spot on roses. The spores have already penetrated the surface of the leaf with germ tubes and mycelium already feeding from  the host plant.  This means a contact spray like kocide will be ineffective as it really needs to be applied before fungal problems are noticed.

A systemic fungicide is required.  The plant carries the chemical through its vascular bundles and the chemical breaks the membranes of the fungi.  Triforine and mancozeb are examples of eradicant fungicides.  It is recommended that no more than 4 sprays are applied in a season.

 

 

 

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