Grow Basil? Beware of Downy Mildew

FROM NPR – June 23, 2010 – – “There’s bad news for gardeners who grow basil to sprinkle over Italian food or Thai dishes — or anyone who thinks pesto is the best flavor on Earth.

A” potentially fatal fungal disease called downy mildew has been attacking basil plants in New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida. Gardeners are worried that it could spread farther throughout the summer, turning delicate green basil leaves an ugly shade of brown, yellow or gray.

“And it spreads fast, says Margaret McGrath, an associate professor of plant pathology at Cornell University. “It wipes the leaves right out — and that’s what you want to use,” McGrath tells NPR’s Michele Norris. “And it can go pretty darn fast. And it’s new so people don’t know about it.”

“So-called basil blight is similar to late blight in tomatoes or downy mildew in cucumbers, squash and melons. McGrath says these are considered “community diseases” because they move easily.  Listen to NPR / Read the Full Article

posted by Deni Mosser

Photo from NPR

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