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White spots on zinnia leaves !

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Claude photos
Joined: 4/16/2007
Location: Petit Village,Goodlands
Posts: 1
Posted: May/01/2007 12:14 AM PST

My zinnias are showing those greyish white spots on their leaves. I know it may be because of overwatering - it's been raining heaviily these past two weeks. What's the remedy ? Plese help and thanks.
bensmom98 blog photos
Joined: 7/26/2006
Location: Lake Champlain Valley
Posts: 9121
Posted: May/01/2007 6:26 AM PST

It sounds like powdery mildew. I am not sure how to get rid of it though as it is generally not a big problem for me.
RKayne blog photos
Joined: 11/09/2006
Location:
Posts: 4090
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Posted: May/01/2007 9:06 AM PST

Environment Favoring Powdery Mildews

Most powdery mildew fungi produce airborne spores and infect plants when temperatures are moderate (60 to 80 degrees F) and will not be present during the hottest days of the summer. Unlike most other fungi that infect plants, powdery mildew fungi do not require free water on the plant surface in order to germinate and infect. Some powdery mildew fungi, especially those on rose, apple, and cherry are favored by high humidities. Overcrowding and shading will keep plants cool and promote higher humidity. These conditions are highly conducive to powdery mildew development.
Control of Powdery Mildews

Before using fungicides you should attempt to limit powdery mildews by other means. The following cultural practices should be beneficial for controlling powdery mildews.

* Purchase only top-quality, disease-free plants of resistant cultivars and species from a reputable nursery, greenhouse or garden center. Horticulturists in the green industry and Extension offices should be consulted concerning the availability and performance of resistant varieties.

* Prune out diseased terminals of woody plants, such as rose and crabapple, during the normal pruning period. All dead wood should be removed and destroyed (preferably by burning). Rake up and destroy all dead leaves that might harbor the fungus.

* Maintain plants in a high vigor.

o Plant properly in well-prepared and well-drained soil where the plants will obtain all-day sun (or a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily).

o Space plants for good air circulation. DO NOT plant highly susceptible plants--such as phlox, rose, and zinnia--in damp, shady locations.

o Do not handle or work among the plants when the foliage is wet.

o Water thoroughly at weekly intervals during periods of drought. The soil should be moist 8 to 12 inches deep. Avoid overhead watering and sprinkling the foliage, especially in late afternoon or evening. Use a soil soaker hose or root feeder so the foliage is not wetted.

Chemical Control of Powdery Mildews

In many cases, powdery mildew diseases do little damage to overall plant health, and yearly infections can be ignored if unsightliness is not a major concern. For example, lilacs can have powdery mildew each year, with little or no apparent effect on plant health. On some plants, powdery mildews can result in significant damage. Thus, fungicides must be used to achieve acceptable control. For best results with fungicides, spray programs must begin as soon as mildews are detected. Spray on a regular schedule, more often during cool, damp weather. Use a good spreader-sticker with the fungicides. Be sure and cover both surfaces of all leaves with the spray. Fungicides generally recommended for powdery mildew control include: Triadimefon (Bayleton, Strike); Triforine (Funginex), Thiophanate-methyl (Cleary's 3336, Domain) and Propiconazole (Banner).
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