White powdery mildew or WPM is a common disease that affects a wide verity of plants, WPM spreads easily and typically kills its plant host. WPM is spread from either wind blowing spores to the next host or humans carrying the spores into grow areas. WPM is a fungi that requires living plant tissue to grow. Initially it presents itself on plants stems or leaves as a white layer of mycelium (fungus). Once you are able to see this thin layer of white “powder” chances are it has already spread to other plants or clung to your clothes. The fungus robs the host of life creating unsightly effects such as leaf decay and discoloration, eventually killing it. This means that your food, your research and your profits are lost. But we don’t need to expand that any more…if you are reading this article you probably already know how damaging WPM is!
If you don’t already have WPM, great! Let’s talk about how to keep it away. WPM can thrive in many different types of environments but loves humid, shady areas with limited airflow. For outdoor growing you want to ensure your crop is in sunny areas that are subject to frequent breezes; defiantly steer away from excess fertilizer. Extended release fertilizers are recommended. For indoor growing you must ensure strong airflow, frequent air exchanges and always require your staff to “gown-up” when entering the grow rooms. Plants are not born with WPM, you delivered it to your crop! You should also wash tools and parts before they enter your grow room.
If you already have WPM your first step is to isolate or eliminate the plant(s). It is a good idea to remove the nearest, surrounding plants as well. Many farmers use biological fungicides such as Serenade or even baking soda to treat plants that have been infested by WPM. While we are not recommending you use these products, or that they even work, there is plenty of useful info you can find on-line to help you make an informed decision.
WPM is only one of many different fungal disease’s plants are susceptible to. Fortunately, the simple ways to avoid WPM mentioned above also help to keep many other diseases away from your plants. Ensure strong UV exposure, frequent air exchanges, humidity and cleanliness are at the top of your list; you will be on track for higher yields, increased research and more money in your pocket!
If you have any questions about how to create an ideal indoor environment contact TC Controls for an expert, experienced approved to controlled environment agriculture.