The Q&A Archives: powdery mildew

Question: I have a huge climbing rose bush that has not bloomed this year. It appears to have powdery mildew. The leaves are white powdery looking and curling up and dry. Will this kill my plant? Should I cut off all affecting parts of the plant? I read spraying it with milk will help. It's August, is there anything I can do at this time of the summer?

Answer: Powdery mildew is so difficult to control. I've heard that mild makes an effective fungicide, but I've never tried it. According to those who have, you simply mix the milk at a ratio of one part of milk to nine parts of water and spray weekly. I'd prune to remove the affected plant parts to at least get the fungus off the plant. Then try the milk spray. Roses that are overcrowded, are not getting enough sunshine, or are over-fed are more likely to get powdery mildew so pruning yours back will not only remove the disease spores but will also open your rose up to better sun penetration and better air circulation. This combination should help it remain healthier. Good luck with your climbing rose!

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