Fungicide For Plants: How To Make Your Own Fungicide
By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Gardeners often face the dilemma of controlling pests and disease without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals, which should be used only as a last resort. When dealing with lawn and garden fungal diseases, homemade lawn fungicide or homemade plant fungicide often solves these problems without damaging the environment and risking the health of you, your children and pets.
Reduce the Need for Fungicide for Plants
To reduce the need for using a fungicide for plants, it may help to select healthy, pest-resistant plants and practice good sanitation in the vegetable garden and flower bed. Keep plants healthy and their growing area weed-free to cut back on the need for fungicide for plants.
More often than not, fungi are the result of pests in the garden. Sometimes, pest control for plants is as simple as a blast of water from the garden hose, knocking off aphids and other piercing and sucking insects. When pest problems and resulting fungal issues require treatment, it’s handy to know about DIY fungicides for the garden.
DIY Fungicides for the Garden
Learning how to make your own fungicide gives you control of the ingredients, many of which are already in your home. Here are some of the more popular items for use in making fungicide for lawns and gardens:
- Mixing baking soda with water, about 4 teaspoons or 1 heaping tablespoon (20 mL) to 1 gallon (4 L) of water (Note: many resources recommend using potassium bicarbonate as a substitute for baking soda.).
- Dishwashing soap, without degreaser or bleach, is a popular ingredient for homemade plant fungicide.
- Cooking oils are often mixed into homemade plant fungicide to make them cling to leaves and stems.
- Pyrethrin leaves that come from the painted daisy flower are widely used in commercial fungicide for plants. Grow your own painted daisies and use the flowers as a fungicide for plants. Dry the flower heads, then grind them or soak overnight in 1/8 cup (29.5 mL) of alcohol. Mix with up to 4 gallons (15 L) of water and strain through cheesecloth.
- Bordeaux mixture for use during the dormant season can control some fungal and bacterial diseases. You can make your own Bordeaux mix with ground limestone and powdered copper sulfate. The most recommended strength for dormant application is 4-4-50. Mix four parts of each with 50 gallons (189 L) of water. If you need less, like for a gallon, reduce the recipe for this homemade plant fungicide to 6 1/2 to 8 teaspoons (32-39 mL) of the copper sulfate and 3 tablespoons (44 mL) limestone to 1 pint (.5 L) of water.
Using Organic Fungicide Recipes
Now that you’ve learned how to make your own fungicide, use it responsibly. The term organic leads some to believe that these mixtures are completely safe, which is untrue. Use all homemade fungicide for the lawn and garden carefully, especially around children and pets.
BEFORE USING ANY HOMEMADE MIX: It should be noted that anytime you use a home mix, you should always test it out on a small portion of the plant first to make sure that it will not harm the plant. Also, avoid using any bleach-based soaps or detergents on plants since this can be harmful to them. In addition, it is important that a home mixture never be applied to any plant on a hot or brightly sunny day, as this will quickly lead to burning of the plant and its ultimate demise.
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Homemade Fungicide for Seedlings
Damping-off disease dampens a gardener's mood fast. You'll get a sinking feeling yourself when you see rows of seedlings keeling over. You can often forestall the problem -- caused by fungi in the soil -- by sowing your seeds on top of sterile seed-starting mix, covering them with milled sphagnum moss, sand, or chicken grit, and watering them from the bottom. If it’s too late for that, you may be able to save seedlings which haven’t succumbed yet with the help of homemade fungicides.
In a cup or bowl, pour in your water. Next, add in enough baking soda depending on your plants’ needs. If you only have a few leaves covered in spots, use one teaspoon.
If the whole plant is covered, use two teaspoons. When your whole garden is looking bad, use three.
Mix in the oil and then the dish soap. Pour it into your spray bottle and give it a good shake. Be sure to always shake before using it.
Spray it over your plant after trimming off highly infected parts. Spray the base of the plant and the soil as well.
Reapply every 2-3 weeks, or after heavy rainfall. You should see the fungus begin to clear up in a few week’s time.
2. Soap Spray
A very similar homemade pesticide to the oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other hungry little insects. To make a basic soap spray insecticide, mix one and one-half teaspoons of a mild liquid soap (such as castile soap) with one quart of water, and spray the mixture directly on the infected surfaces of the plants. A soap spray insecticide works in a similar fashion as an oil spray pesticide, and can be applied as necessary (though it is always recommended to NOT apply it during the hot sunny part of the day, but rather in the evenings or early mornings).
How to Make a Plant Fungus Fighter with Vinegar
Fungi are not capable of killing your plants however, they do give them an unsightly appearance and cause the leaves to turn brown and eventually fall off. If you are one of those gardeners or landscapers who is looking out for the use of non-hazardous products to eliminate fungal agents, then the idea of mixing together some ingredients that are easily available at home with vinegar to make a natural fungus fighter will probably appeal to you.
Basic Apple Cider Vinegar Fungicide
To make this fungicide, use apple cider vinegar with an acidity of 5 percent. Mix about a gallon of water with 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar. In addition to mildews, scabs, and leafspots, this fungus fighter is effective against black spot diseases that commonly affect rose plants and aspen trees.
Spray this fungicide on the affected plants during the morning hours for the best results.
Enhanced Apple Cider Vinegar Fungicide
Clean a plant sprayer well and pour into it two gallons of water. Using the water as a base, add into the sprayer 6 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of dark molasses, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable or citrus oil. Mix the ingredients well by shaking the sprayer.
The fungus fighter is to be used only on the affected parts of plants. It is not advisable to use it for prevention purposes. Lightly spray the fungus fighter over the leaf tops and bottoms of the affected plants. The best time to use this spray is early mornings or evenings when the temperature is relatively low and the surroundings are cool.
Wait for a week before you spray the affected plants again with the fungus fighter.
Things to Consider
The recipes for the enhanced fungal fighters require a 2 gallon sprayer. If you are using a 1 gallon sprayer instead, use half the quantity of the ingredients specified above.
Some people find certain ingredients used in the preparation of the fungus fighter to be highly irritating to their eyes, mucous membranes, and skin. So, it is important that you use protection for your face and skin when using the spray.
The natural vinegar fungus fighter can be used in small amounts in a sprayer to treat fungal conditions, such as mildew, affecting indoor plants. Certain plants develop side-effects when treated with fungal fighters. Therefore, before applying the spray, test it out on a small plant area. You can apply a very small portion of the fighter on a lower leaf and wait for at least 24 hours to check for side-effects.
Spraying bleach on the mulch can kill the fungus without harming plants if used correctly. In fact, a diluted bleach solution is sometimes used to sterilize and sanitize plant cuttings and growing mediums. Spray the fungus in the mulch with a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water.
– Soapy water. Mix 5 tablespoons of dish soap with 4 cups of water in a bottle and spray plants with the solution. …
– Neem oil spray. …
– Pyrethrum spray. …
– Beer. …
– Garlic. …
– Pepper spray. …
– Herbal water spray. …
– Alcohol spray.
Used for centuries as a fungicide against rust and other diseases, sulfur is readily available and easily mixed at home for use in the garden. Sulfur must be applied before rust develops, so use it as a preventive in early spring, before the temperature reaches and stays above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Some plants, such as cucurbits and some berries are sensitive to sulfur. Sulfur is available in liquid, wettable powder or as a dust, and mixing directions are different for each type. Check the label for mixing and application directions and to make sure the product is appropriate for your plants. Lime-sulfur compounds smell like rotten eggs and should not be used on foliage. Mix this fungicide up to use as a dormant spray.