1. Antitranspirants are sold at nurseries under various commercial names as a ready-to-use spray or as a concentrate that you'll need to mix up. Buy whichever is most useful to you. And don't let those long words scare you off—-antitranspirants are virtually nontoxic and biodegradable. They work by creating a film on a plant's leaves.
  2. When you spray, be sure to coat the tops and bottoms of leaves. Application techniques depend on which form you buy, Mark says, so read and follow label directions. By coating the leaves and stems, you block fungi from the leaves and/or give any fungal spores that are already there a coat, which prevents them from spreading. The film will not protect new growth, so reapply as needed, according to the label.

(A/ateis. Fleer

Whether you're feeding your plants, using a foliar (leaf) spray, insecticidal soap, or any other man-made interference, getting out your hose or watering can should always be step number one. "Always, always irrigate before applying any chemical, of any sort, for any purpose!" Mark Whitelaw insists. "This puts less stress on the roots and foliage of the plant." If you don't water, you'll create conditions that can injure the leaves. ^

Note: Gardeners in cool, humid climates, like the Pacific Northwest and New England, boast success with antidesiccants in fighting the dreaded rose rust which thrives in their area, Mark says. At the same time, antidesiccants are popular with some in southern California's dry inland areas. 'Antitranspirants are particularly effective against powdery mildew in areas where hot, dry conditions prevail during the day, but high humidity conditions exist at night and early morning," he explains.

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