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Whats the best/cheapest/natural (3 separate questions or 1?) way to control mildew on plants?

We have a lot of roses that had not been nurtured for years, and they are really struggling with mildew (black, white, yellow, you name it these roses got it).

I'm also getting a small garden started and noticed white mildew showing up on my pumpkin leaves.

Will the same solution work for many different types of plants and mildew, or will I need to trouble shoot each case individually?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, what you'd use on roses is bound to be different from what you use on crop or food plants, in terms of pesticides. Judicious pruning of roses to open up the bushes and increase air flow helps.

Secondly, there is one natural cheap solution for them all, if its powdery mildew - 1 part cow's milk to 9 parts water, sprayed until run off over all leaves (both sides) and stems.

Powdery mildew occurs more often when plants are a bit stressed through drought, and keeping plants fed and watered optimally helps to fend off infection generally, but overcrowding of plants and very damp weather contribute to all forms of fungal infection, including mildews.

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Bamboo, I read that UHT milk does not work and that one should use fresh - so where does the extended shelf life milk fit in? I was given a rose that brought that specific passenger and would like to start treating. Do I need to go shopping, or will ESL milk be fine for now? – Stephie Jul 16 at 18:21
    
@Stephie - there's no definitive answer, and there's a lot of experimentation with differing milk ratios. One source I read suggests any type of dairy product is possibly going to work, even whey, so if you've only got UHT milk, give it a go. The trouble is, although it works, no-one yet knows why.... which makes it hard to assess whether UHT will be effective or not. – Bamboo Jul 16 at 19:29
    
Really?! Nearly everywhere's open on Sunday in the UK, even if for limited hours – Bamboo Jul 16 at 19:55
    
Blimey that's like the UK back in the seventies... You don't keep fresh milk in the freezer? I keep a pint or two in there in case I run out. – Bamboo Jul 16 at 20:29
    
The system will kick us if we don't use Gardening & Landscaping Chat ;-) – Stephie Jul 16 at 20:41

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