Mildew, Rot, and Environment: 3 of the Most Common Garden Problems and How to Correct Them


| 7/13/2017 9:59:00 AM


Tags: blossom rot, powdery mildew, garden disease, Bryan Traficante,

Replicating nature’s seemingly effortless “green thumb” isn’t always simple. Along with rich soil, sunlight, and water, gardeners need to be attentive and patient or else their garden may succumb to a variety of issues. Choosing resilient plants and planting during the appropriate seasons improve the chances of a healthy garden, but natural problems can arise nonetheless.

The first step in treating a sick person is to identify the symptoms in order to categorize their ailment. From there, doctors can apply the appropriate treatment; hopefully before the sickness worsens. Similar to people, gardeners need to watch for symptoms of sickness in their gardens so they can identify what’s wrong and treat accordingly. The number one rule in coaxing plants back from ill-health: the earlier the treatment, the stronger the resolution.

Unfortunately, there are many problems that can arise in a garden. Some are openly visible, some can’t be helped due to the environment, and some are caused by poor garden maintenance. The following are some common plant problems and treatment options that every gardener should know.

Powdery Mildew

Easy to recognize, powdery mildew is a common fungus that invades any garden. It appears as white or gray abnormalities on leaves caused by a combination of reduced soil moisture and humidity. As the fungus advances, the leaves will turn brown, shrivel, and eventually die. It prefers younger leaves, so it’s particularly important to watch for during the early stages of plant development. Powdery mildew is also dangerous because it can travel from plant to plant via the wind and insects. Because of its ability to spread, treatment requires the fungus to be completely eradicated from the garden.

Vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkins, and squash are especially susceptible to powdery mildew because their growth minimizes air circulation. Gardeners can use stakes or latticework to support the plants as they grow, increasing air flow to the plant and minimizing the chance for fungus growth. Adding a layer of mulch also inhibits any mildew spores in the soil from floating up onto the leaves. If powdery mildew is already present, prune the affected areas and remove from the garden entirely. For those who want to guarantee it powdery mildew is completely eradicated, destroy the plants once they have gone through their life cycle instead of reusing them in compost.

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