[NAFEX] powdery mildew okay in the mulch pile?

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Sat Oct 17 13:31:36 EDT 2009

This isn't strictly about fruit, but I think the principle is the  
same, as powdery mildew attacks some fruit plants as well as my peonies.

For the last several years I've gotten some powdery mildew on my  
peonies.  It's time to cut them down for the winter, and they all have  
a little mildew, and the ones I didn't spray (with milk!!) have a lot  
of mildew.  In the past I've carefully separated the mildewed waste  
and put it in my municipal trash instead of throwing it into the mulch  
pile.  But now that the fungus seems endemic, I wonder if it's worth  
the trouble.  What say you?  Okay to just toss it in the mulch pile?

Note that my "mulch pile" isn't a carefully tended compost heap that  
necessarily gets hot enough to "cook" things.  It's just the back  
corner of the property where I toss fall leaves and random yard waste,  
and where my husband dumps moldy fruit and the kitchen compost.   
Starting this year I have mined it a little for topsoil (there's very  
nice organic stuff under the top foot of mostly leaves.)  And I expect  
to mine it for topsoil in the future, so I don't want to build up a  
heavy disease load.  But I don't know how much it matters.

eastern MA, zone 6

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