Gardeners lose the plot as summer weather leads to mildew attack

Alert from Royal Horticultural Society over disease which could damage or kill fruit and veg

Environment Editor

A A A

Gardeners are being warned to be extra vigilant after the summer weather created a boom in powdery mildews that destroy fruit and vegetables.

The fungal disease kills and maims apples, blackcurrants, gooseberries, grapes, courgettes, marrows, cucumbers, peas, roses, honeysuckle, rhododendrons and azaleas. It also causes problems for farmers because it attacks sugar beet and barley.

“This is a bumper year for powdery mildews – we’ve had a dry summer, with a bit of wetness and then dry again,” said Guy Barter of the Royal Horticultural Society.

“These can kill but usually debilitate and weaken the plants. In vegetables this can reduce the size and total amount of produce and in fruit it kills off some of the shoots and can damage the plants.”

There have already been widespread cases of mildew in gardens and allotments but these are likely to increase as the mildew season peaks around now, said Mr Barter. And Britain’s forests are also suffering. “The warm wet summer seems to have produced a really prolific yield of oak mildew in the past month to six weeks,” said National Trust wildlife expert Matthew Oates.

Gardeners should spring into action at the first sign of white mildew on the leaves, stems, flowers or fruit of a plant, Mr Barter advises.

There are no approved fungicides for gardeners to use on vegetables although there are for fruit and flowers, but it is best to ask at the local garden centre to identify the most suitable, experts advise.

There are approved fungicides for farm crops and farmers typically spray at “first sight”, so the main problem posed to mainstream agriculture by mildew is the high cost of the chemicals – although organic farmers suffer along with gardeners.

Gardeners can take steps to minimise the risk of attracting powdery mildew and slowing its spread.

Watering the plants regularly makes them stronger and so builds up their resistance to disease of all kinds. Removing infected leaves helps slow the spread, while gardeners should also avoid using too much nitrogen fertiliser because this promotes the soft leafy growth on which garden pests thrive.

Gardeners should also look to thin out growth where possible to increase the airflow or to plant further apart.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Sport
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam