Trying to get rid of powdery mildew during flowering is a serious problem, and a difficult one to resolve. Short of dousing your infected plants in gasoline and lighting a match, your options are limited. The smart way to deal with powdery mildew is never to let your plants be exposed to spores in the first place.
There are many ways you, as a medicinal grower, can stop powdery mildew in its tracks. First of all, you want to put the brakes on the mildew before it gets into your growing areas and infects your plants. More on how to do that in a bit.
What is Powdery Mildew?
Powdery mildew is a highly transmissible fungus that belongs to the Erysiphales order of fungi. Erysiphales are obligate parasites.
Mycelium is what grows on the surface of infected plants. As it grows, threads of vegetative, root-like structures reach out to penetrate host cells. They take nourishment directly from the plant.
The part of powdery mildew that is first spotted by the naked eye are the tell-tale white, powdery mildew spots, hence the name. Depending on your plant, these spots might appear on younger or older leaves first. For example, on lettuce, the disease usually appears on older, lower leaves. Whereas on roses, younger leaves often display first signs.
Prevention Is Best Way to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew
It’s crucial to fight this pathogen before it has a chance to reach your plants. Let’s remember that powdery mildew, like most pathogens, is airborne. It spreads by using the air in your grow areas. So the best way to prevent the spores from getting anywhere near your plants is to keep the air in your growing rooms totally clean and completely free of all threats. In short, kill powdery mildew before it kills your crop.
An Effective Air Sanitation System
You do this by setting up a good ventilation system. This is the best way to scrub the air clean and keep pathogens away from your plants. Keeping the air completely free of mold spores and other blights will forever solve the problem of powdery mildew.
- Select plants that are known to be resistant to powdery mildew.
- Maintain plant to plant distance, don't overcrowd.
- Water plants during the day, so they have plenty of time to dry off.
- Prune excessive foliage.
- Give plants plenty of sun.
- Prevent pest infestations as the sticky secretions from them cover the leaves and make it easier for spores to attach to leaves.
- Do not grow plants too close together or close to damp areas.
- Remove weeds that may create density and restrict airflow.
- Avoid the use of nitrogen-rich manure or fertilizers. It encourages young plant growth where powdery mildew thrives.
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