Flowering trees are some of the best plants to add to your yard’s landscaping, as they provide immense beauty and color. If you’re looking for the perfect ornamental tree for your property, a crape myrtle is an excellent option, as they come in various colors. Although crape myrtles are typically problem-free trees, you may experience a few issues. If you’re wondering what that white stuff is on your crape myrtle, continue reading to learn what it is and how you can get rid of it.

What Is Powdery Mildew?

Powdery mildew is a type of fungus that can plague various plants, including crape myrtles. Unfortunately, this fungus thrives in humid weather conditions and warm climates, making it a relatively common occurrence during the spring and summer months.

Is It Harmful to Your Trees?

You may be asking whether or not this tree illness is fatal, and the short answer is no. While powdery mildew isn’t usually disastrous, it may cause visible damage to your trees. For instance, this disease may stunt overall tree growth or kill branches as a result of stress.

Although it’s common to see powdery mildew on your crape myrtle trees, they’re not the only tree variety that you may see this on. Other tree types, like maple, oak, dogwood, and magnolia, are also prone to powdery mildew.

Signs of Powdery Mildew

Although you may suspect your crape myrtle trees have powdery mildew, knowing how to identify it properly is important for gardeners. You probably already noticed the white spots at first glance, but you should look closer to confirm the diagnosis. Powdery mildew typically appears as white or gray spots on affected leaves. These spots may grow together slowly to form larger patches of gray or white fungus.

Although the fungus spots aren’t always a huge issue for your crape myrtle, they can cause other symptoms if you don’t treat the disease as soon as you notice it. If left untreated, powdery mildew can cause leaves to change colors and fall from the tree prematurely. Furthermore, you may have a shorter or narrower tree with fewer branches as a result of powdery mildew.

The Best Treatment Options

Treating pests and diseases in your plants and trees isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary to restore overall health and ensure growth and survival. Depending on your personal preferences, there are a few different options for treatment. Follow along to learn more about each and decide which type best suits your situation.


Fungicide is one of the most common treatment solutions to rid your plants and trees of powdery mildew and other fungus issues. This is an effective way to kill powdery mildew and keep it from spreading to other parts of the same tree or a different tree. Because there are various fungicides on the market, you should follow the instructions on the label of your chosen fungicide to ensure you administer it correctly. If you use the product accordingly, you can expect to see improvements within a few days, and your crape myrtle should fully recover.

Baking Soda

If you don’t want to use chemical treatments on your plants and trees, you can always create a homemade solution. Believe it or not, baking soda is an effective option for fungus. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a quart of water, add this mixture to a spray bottle, and apply it to the affected areas of your tree, specifically the leaves. Be sure to coat both sides of the leaves.

Both treatment options are effective, but the consistent application is the key to a full recovery. It may take up to 10 days of treatment before your crape myrtle is in the clear after a powdery mildew infection. Starting treatment as soon as possible is vital to give your tree the best possible chances of survival.

Preventative Measures

Although treatment is usually successful, prevention is always a much better option. However, prevention isn’t always possible when it comes to fungus. Read on to learn a few pointers to reduce your crape myrtle tree’s chances of getting powdery mildew.

Ensure Good Airflow

Because powdery mildew grows and multiplies in moist, warm areas, maintaining proper ventilation is crucial for your trees. Good airflow is one of the best ways to prevent powdery mildew, as it keeps your plants dry. If the fungus doesn’t have any moisture to stick to, it’ll be less likely to cause damage to your beautiful flowering tree.

Avoid Overcrowding

Believe it or not, powdery mildew can travel through the air and spread to other trees, so it’s more likely to spread from surrounding plants if they’re too close together. Furthermore, if you plant your trees too close together, they may also work against each other for resources. As a result, this competition creates an environment for bacteria and fungi to grow and thrive.

Be sure to give your plants and trees space to grow on their own away from others. This is a small factor, but it can make all the difference when it comes to tree health.

Proper Watering

You probably already know that plants and trees need water to survive, but you may not know the best watering practices to ensure healthy trees. It’s no secret the fungus multiplies in wet, dark places. Unfortunately, powdery mildew thrives at night. Therefore, you should consider watering your plants and trees in the morning to allow enough time for them to dry before dusk. Overall, early waterings are the best way to ensure your plants aren’t wet for extended periods, as they’re more likely to dry throughout the afternoon.

Gardening isn’t always easy, and many different things can go wrong. However, you shouldn’t let this stop you from planting gorgeous plants in your yard. Now that you know what that white stuff is on your crape myrtle, you can take the necessary steps to treat the issue and avoid it in the future.

Whether you’re a beginner or have extensive gardening knowledge, there’s always something new to learn about plants and trees. Add this helpful knowledge to your agricultural expertise to make yourself more successful in the garden.

What’s That White Stuff on Your Crape Myrtle?

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