The Q&A Archives: Fungus on Bee Balm

Question: How do I control fungus in my garden? Last year in a small section of my garden, starting in July, I noticed a white substance on the bee balm and some annuals but not all perennials. It's impractical to sterilize the soil -- the area is about 4ft deep by 25ft long with many established plants. Should I spray? What about baking soda?

Answer: In spite of having "near sterilized soil", you still can't avoid getting powdery mildew in your garden. Mildew likes Vermont, particularly the cool sunny days and dewy nights. Bee balm is especially susceptible. You can grown resistant varieties such as 'Gardenview Scarlet' or spray with baking soda or a newer product called Rose Defense. For baking soda use 3 teaspoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of summer or horticultural oil in a quart of water. The Rose Defence product is a neem-based oil that supposedly works well on mildew even after it starts. It's available through Gardener's Supply Company in Burlington, VT,<br>

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