Guide to Mildew Disease in the Garden

July 8, 2010

Q:  My cucumber plants continue to have problems with mildew. I don’t want to spray anything on them; but if the problem persists, it might kill the plants or shorten its life.  Any solution?

A:  There are two types of mildew. Powdery mildew and Downy mildew. Powdery mildew is a light-colored powder on shoots and on both sides of leaves, and sometimes flowers. Usually appears first as yellow spots on upper leaf surface of older leaves. Powdery mildew is carried by wind, and thrives in warm weather. Moderate temperatures and shady conditions will work in the disease’s favor. Make sure your plant receives enough water. Avoid excess fertilizer. When there is a limited amount of powdery mildew, trim and bury or discard of diseased foliage as soon as it appears. Downy mildew produces yellow to brown and/or fuzzy spores mostly on the backside of leaves after rain or heavy dew, and disappear soon after sunny weather resumes. Downy mildew thrives in cool weather. For this type of mildew, let the ground dry between irrigations, and keep leaves dry. Make sure the plant has good air circulation.

Possible Solutions: You can try an organic product on the market. Check with a professional nurseryperson for the most effective product available in your county. Although some gardeners use 5-percent solution of baking soda (1 teaspoon to 1 quart or 1 liter water), this did not work on my snapdragons. However, my snapdragons were heavily infected.



  1. Also, I have found it seems to help if I trellis my cucumbers.


  2. I understand that there is a nursery in the Central Valley that specializes in Japanese maples. Does any one know the name of the nursery?


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