Answer: Powdery mildews, as the name implies, often appear as a superficial white or gray powdery growth of fungus over the surface of leaves, stems, flowers, or fruit of affected plants. These patches may enlarge until they cover the entire leaf on one or both sides. Young foliage and shoots may be particularly susceptible. Leaf curling and twisting may be noted before the fungus is noticed. Severe powdery mildew infection will result in yellowed leaves, dried and brown leaves, and disfigured shoots and flowers. Although it usually is not a fatal disease, powdery mildew may hasten plant defoliation and fall dormancy, and the infected plant may become extremely unsightly.
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.
Fungicides can 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).
Best wishes with your privets!
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