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Weston's Mark Cox on how to get rid of mildew fungus

I don’t know about you but I seem to be plagued by flies at the moment which seem to attack in pairs. Every fly I seem to swat brings forth two others. The only conclusion I could reasonably come too was that I must be the reincarnation of Perseus from ancient Greece.

Curiously though my postman Jason left for a two week cruise around the Mediterranean yesterday, and strangely enough this morning I had a letter arrive by clockwork owl.

The letter was from a Mrs Ann Dromida from Holbeach– the posh end.Ann had written to me in some state of distress as her beautiful Dahlias that were once the talk of the cul de sac were losing their lustre and the title of bestdahlias could well be moving to Mrs Hera at number 28.

Mildew on leaves (38447589)
Mildew on leaves (38447589)

Ann explained that her dahlias a few days ago looked amazing but when she went to water them again the leaves where shrivelled and covered in a white powder.

It was obvious to me that her dahlias were suffering from mildew and the mildew fungus was attacking the plant and causing the damage to the leaves.

Whilst in most cases powdery mildew will not kill the plant, it is always best practice to treat it and remove any infected leaves whether it’s in the garden or greenhouse.

Powdery mildew is caused by humidity in the atmosphere. When you have warm, sunny days followed by warm, wet days, this creates the perfect conditions for the fungus to grow.

This is the exact same weather pattern we’ve been experiencing for the last few weeks. When it rains, water splashes on the infected leaves and bounces off onto healthy leaves, which then become infected.

The first step is to improve the air circulating around the plant so remove anything which is overcrowding it. Do not put those clippings in the compost bin as they may well contain the fungus spores.

Next, treat the leaves with a good quality fungicide such as Fungus Clear Ultra.

This type of fungicide is a systemic product which means the treatment is taken in through the leaves and is circulated around the plant.

Now, with all chemicals, you should always read the label and follow the safety instructions.

To treat, mix 15ml of Fungus Clear Ultra with one litre of water. Then, using a pressure sprayer, spray the infected leaves on both sides upper and lower.You will need to continue this process every 14 days until the fungus is removed.

Sadly, once the mildew has formed on the leaves the damage is done and the deformity it caused will not recover. However, that said, these leaves will eventually die and fall of and in its place will be disease-free growth.

After writing back to Mrs Ann Dromida I sat back to enjoy a cuppa with a couple almond biscuits when there was a knock at the door.

When I opened the door there was no one there. Apart from a Euphorbia flanaganii plant on the doormat.If only I could remember what the common name for that plant was.

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