Controlling Powdery Mildew Organically

Powdery mildew is a problem that plagues many gardens. With a little planning and a careful eye on the garden you can stop this problem or end it quickly if it occurs.

The fungus “powdery mildew” loves warm, humid conditions. University research has shown that both sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and potassium bicarbonate are quite effective as sprays against mildew and many other plant diseases. I read about using baking Soda for mildew control  in Mother Earth New many years ago and had to test it out. This is a more earth friendly approach to mildew control and organic methods are all that are used in my yard and garden areas.

I am happy to say both potassium bicarbonate and baking soda work equally well and are very cost efficient.

There are some new, labeled products based on these ingredients that are now available in garden centers, but your own mix takes only a few minutes to create. Other low-toxicity options based on natural and elemental ingredients are appearing on the market to help us control diseases with minimal damage to the environment.

One other help in mildew control is giving your plants space. Crowding plants reduces air circulation, which means that foliage stays wet longer. Besides encouraging mildew wet leaved tend to rot and attract other insects and diseases. Proper spacing of plants can mean the difference between a major disease problem and a minor one.

Most plants come with the distance a plant should be spaced from other plants. Seeds also carry this information on the seed packet. And if all else fails get a book for the library or check online for planting information.

I have also found mulch helps to keep the plants and leaved drier. Water will not splash up form the ground when it rains and get the lower plant wet.

Garden planning is a great way of organizing your gardens and backyard for mildew control and plant spacing. It’s also a great pastime in the winter when it’s cold.

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