Wet humid weather and decomposing organic matter such as mulch and compost spell one thing ... fungus.
The continuing humid weather is the cause of ongoing havoc, with many plants being affected by a range of parasitic fungi such as root rot, botrytis, powdery mildew, downey mildew, rust and leaf spots.
These fungi attack living plant material and can bring what was once a healthy plant to its knees within a matter of days if conditions are right; and currently conditions are tipped in favour of the fungi.
The first step to preventing fungal disease is to ensure plants are growing in the best possible conditions.
Ensuring that all aspects of culture including correct soil type, pH level, appropriate nutrition, light levels, and correct selection based on climatic needs are addressed.
Powdery mildew is a common fungal problem during wet summers, easily identified with its powder like coating that spreads across the leaf surface of plants.
Some of the most susceptible plants are zucchini, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, and flowering annuals. It can also be problematic on roses and crepe myrtle.
Control this fungal disease by using lime sulphur, this product has no withholding period, check the product label though for plant registration.
The withholding period is the time that must elapse between the last application of a chemical and the harvesting and consumption of plant parts after harvest.
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Prevention is always better than cure and with powdery mildew the application of a milk spray on a regular basis will help keep this fungal disease at bay. Milk spray should be applied at the first sign of disease.
Apply at the rate of 100 milliletres of milk to one litre of water.
The ratio of milk to water is most effective as a 10 per cent solution, any higher tends to lead to an innocuous fungus growing on plants due to the milk residue. Spray plants weekly and reapply after rain.
Baking soda is also ideal for controlling fungal diseases.
Simply combine one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with a few drops of liquid soap, then dissolve in two litres of water. The soap helps the spray stick to the leaf surface. Spray once a week and reapply after rain.
The key is to keep a close watch on your garden and at the first sign of trouble take evasive action.
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