Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Battling Powdery Mildew



When I planted the honeysuckle on each side of the arbor entrance into Max’s Garden in 2006, I chose Lonicera x. brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ because of its beautiful blooms. Multiple skinny trumpet tubes of reddish-orange covered the fast-growing vines in spring, then summer, and not only did I love them, the hummingbirds did, too.

But by mid-summer, the plants started to show signs of powdery mildew. This fungus develops usually when the weather is hot and dry and/or air circulation around the plant isn’t sufficient. This particular honeysuckle (and several others) are susceptible to powdery mildew, but I didn’t know that when I purchased them. I likely would have ignored that warning anyway. “It won’t happen to me,” was the kind of idealistic gardener I was. (Still am, truth be told!)

By the end of August last year, I was tired of dealing with the ugliness that powdery mildew brought upon my honeysuckle, so I intended to dig both plants out and replace them with ‘Major Wheeler,” a variety that is resistant to the fungus. I cut both vines down to a height of about 18 inches and vowed to dig them out in the spring.

Spring came and the two ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ honeysuckles slated for removal were growing like gangbusters. The foliage looked as healthy as ever and I was convinced that maybe this year would be different. I let it grow.

But last week, in spite of not having conditions conducive to powdery mildew, I saw signs of it beginning. Oh why did I think this year would be different?



But wait… Maybe it will be.

A few weeks ago, Bioworks® sent me one of their products to try. I’d told them about my problem with powdery mildew on my honeysuckle and we both thought it would be a good test of MilStop®, a foliar fungicide containing potassium bicarbonate.

I mixed it up – 1 Tablespoon of the powder to 1 gallon of water – and sprayed it on. I’m to do this once a week during the growing season.I used it on other plants I've got that tend to have a problem with powdery mildew, too: Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Monarda,  and Pulmonaria.

We'll see how it goes!


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The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.

10 comments:

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Kylee! I have two 'Dropmore Scarlet' plants. They do have pretty blooms. I haven't noticed any problems, but will watch them.

Chiot's Run said...

Here in my garden it's survival of the fittest. Only the toughest plants that require no special care get to stay, all others are dug up and given to someone else.

The only plants that get a tiny bit of extra care are my hydrangeas which during dry spells they get an extra bit of water if they wilt.

I have heard that spraying with milk helps with powdery mildew as well, though I've never tried it. I've also heard a baking soda spray works but also, never tried it.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Kylee. I will be waiting enthusiastically to see the results of the test. I have a rose bush, a pink phlox and Bee Balm that always seems to mildew in this humid air of ours. It would be nice to see something work so I do not have to get rid of the plants.

Ilona said...

been seeing bacterial blights here.

Sabrina said...

Oh, no! Our landscape designer just recommended "Dropmore Scarlet" to us for an area that she's going to work on shortly. We've never had any powdery mildew on the Lonicera 'Graham Thomas' that we grow on a trellis at the front of the house. Which other Loniceras resist powdery mildew?

Cameron said...

Hope the product works for you. I don't have much of a problem with mildew on anything except phlox and some ignored rudbeckia.

lisaschaos said...

I sure hope that helps, has to be frustrating! Love the color of he blooms!

Anonymous said...

Love all of these suggestions...I have problem with powdery mildew on my peonies.

jennahsgarden said...

I have several broadleaf coreopsis that seem to always get it. They were fine this season until I moved them. I've been spraying with Immunox fungicide. You'll have to let me know if this works!

Kristi said...

ugh, I hate powdery mildew it shows up and spread so quickly. I hope the product works for you. Have you ever tried the baking soda/water spray that "What's Wrong with My Plant" authors recommend? Just curious.

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