This easy homemade fungicide recipe is effective on powdery mildew and can be used to treat other fungal issues around the garden, as well.
An Easy Homemade Fungicide for Plants
If you’re growing any gourds this year, this easy homemade fungicide recipe might just come in handy for you. Curcurbits like cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and watermelon are notoriously prone to a fungal disease known as powdery mildew.
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And as you’ll see below, this simple recipe can also be used to treat other fungus issues around the garden. In addition, it is widely used by rose aficionados to help control the black spot fungus that is a common problem for rose bushes.
Is Powdery Mildew Consuming Your Cucumbers?
Powdery mildew is easily recognizable in an otherwise healthy garden. When this fungus goes unchecked, it often looks like someone has used a flour sifter to apply a thin coat of flour across the leaves of affected plants.
Powdery mildew can pop up on other garden plants, too. Some other plants that are especially prone to this fungal issue include phlox, bee balm, roses, apples, and grapes.
Make Your Own Homemade Fungicide for Your Garden
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and keep agitated. Then spray plants. Spray all leaves thoroughly, until the solution begins to run off. Spray the top and bottom of affected leaves, and spray all of the small new leaves, even if they don’t appear to have the fungus yet.
Peer Reviewed and Scientist Approved
Gardeners might be infamous for passing along myths and legends, but this simple fungicide has some pretty good academic credentials. Dr. R. Kenneth Horst from Cornell University led a series of studies to document the effectiveness of baking soda as a fungicide.
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His studies found that a 0.5% solution of baking soda is best to control powdery mildew in curcurbits, and he found that using a surfactant (like soap or horticultural oil) is necessary to make the solution effective.2)http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/bakingsoda.html You can find lots of information about Dr. Horst’s work, and other relevant research, in this document from the National Center for Appropriate Technology:
View or Download the Original File Here: “Use of Baking Soda as a Fungicide”
Natural Alternatives for Controlling Fungal Issues
Before you start breaking out the fungicides, consider whether or not you might be able to control the issue just by adjusting your watering schedule. Powdery mildew can spring up during exceptionally dry conditions, especially when you have hot, dry days and cool nights. If you are growing plants that are susceptible to drought stress, make sure that they are getting regular water during summer hot streaks.
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Air circulation is one of the biggest factors in many fungal infections, and you might be able to control powdery mildew and other fungal issues by spacing plants farther apart and pruning selectively to increase air flow through the affected area.3)The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control. Ellis, Barbara W. and Martin, Deborah L. 2009. Rodale.
And if you’ve had problems with powdery mildew in the past, one of the best things you can do is be sure to select plants that are resistant to powdery mildew in the future. Some varieties are less susceptible to the fungus, and they are advertised as being resistant in seed catalogs and garden centers.
What Do You Think?
How do you control fungus in your garden? Do you have a favorite homemade fungicide? Let us know in the comments below!
This article was originally published on May 17, 2016. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, however we encourage our Community members to chime in to share their experiences and answer questions!
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