[NAFEX] powdery mildew okay in the mulch pile?

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Sat Oct 17 15:11:14 EDT 2009


Powdery mildew is very species specific.  There are many species and 
even different genera of powdery mildew and powdery mildew of peonies 
won't infect other plants.  Composting the foliage of the peonies will 
destroy some of the mildew, but the spores are in the area and will 
find your peonies again, whenever conditions are right.   However, the 
fact that the peonies do get mildew means conditions in your area may 
be conducive for other mildew species to grow on their appropriate 
hosts.
	In short, go ahead and compost the infected foliage.  Do look at ways 
to increase sunlight and air circulation where mildew is a problem.  
And used something to control the fungus as early in the season as 
possible.  That will do more to help than anything else.
-Lon Rombough
NEW grape pruning video: http://www.bunchgrapes.com/dvd.html View a 
short, low resolution clip here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q58zFY0B1M
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
A video about The Grape Grower : 
http://cookingupastory.com/index.php/2008/04/18/the-grape-grower/

On Sat, Oct 17, 2009 at 1:31 PM, Ginda Fisher <list at ginda.us> wrote:
> 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.
>
>  Thanks,
>  Ginda
>  eastern MA, zone 6
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