Milk remedy for gardening problems?

Asked January 11, 2019, 6:24 PM EST

I have various friends and former Master Gardeners who have recommended milk or a milk/water spray as a remedy to powdery mildew on leaves and plants in the garden. However, I cannot find any research based information to support that idea. If it is viable, would like to know specifically what type of milk such as whole milk versus 2%, and the application on the plants, etc. Would you be able to advise or provide further information?

Coos County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question. You are correct in saying that there is no scientific evidence to support using milk as a fungicide. What is available is contrary to that “myth” as explained in this WSU article: https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/milk-and-roses.pdf I am sorry that Master Gardeners are giving that advice. Perhaps they haven’t kept abreast of research.. (We are not permitted to recommend home remedies when acting as Master Gardeners, but we often share ‘over-the-fence’ advice in a non-OSU rep capacity.) All that aside, here is a reliable resource for ID and treatment of powdery mildew: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/bp/bp-5-w.pdf There are a variety of plant-specific resources on this issue which you can find by searching for “XXX powdery mildew site:edu” which will take you to Extension sources that don’t have Grandma’s untested remedies. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!