What is Powdery Mildew?
Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that affects a wide variety of plants including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and ornamentals. The fungus produces spores that are easily spread by the wind. When the spores land on a susceptible plant, they germinate and invade the leaf tissue and begin to feed on the plant's nutrients and water. Powdery mildew is characterized by the appearance of white or gray powdery spots on the infected plants.
Powdery mildew can be a problem for gardeners because it can reduce the plant's vigor and yield and damage fruits and flowers. In severe cases, powdery mildew can kill plants.
How Does Powdered Milk Help Prevent Powdery Mildew?
Powdered milk can help prevent powdery mildew in a multitude of ways including:
- Providing proteins and enzymes that have antifungal properties
- These proteins and enzymes can disrupt the growth and development of fungal spores, making it harder for powdery mildew to establish itself on the plant
- Additionally, these proteins may react with sunlight to create an antiseptic effect
- Providing an excellent source of calcium and potassium for the plant
- Calcium is essential for plant cell wall development and structure. When plants have an adequate supply of calcium, their cell walls are stronger, making it more difficult for powdery mildew to penetrate and establish itself on the plant's surface.
- Calcium and potassium may also help to boost the plant's immune system, making it more resistant to disease.
- Creating a barrier on the leaf’s surface that makes it difficult for fungus to establish itself
Application of Powdered Milk
- Mixed with water
- Mix one part powdered milk with nine parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the plants thoroughly, covering all surfaces of the leaves, stems, and flowers. Repeat the application every 7-10 days, or more often if it is raining frequently.
- Dry application
- Use a powder duster to lightly coat leaves, stems and flowers. Repeat as necessary.