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Botanical name (also Oidium tuckeri) for powdery mildew; see there.

Term for two dangerous vine diseases caused by fungi. They were first introduced to Europe in the second half of the 19th century with contaminated vine material from North America. Both types of fungi are biotrophic parasites, which means that they feed on the living cells of the infected host. The two powdery mildew diseases are often confused, not so much because of the symptoms, which are fairly obvious, but because of the confusingly similar names. There are plant-specific mildews, e.g. for apples, peas, cucumbers, roses, spinach and grapevines. The fungi are strictly host-specific, i.e. they can only live on their host or hosts.

Both are conventionally controlled with sulphur (powdery mildew) and copper sulphate or Bordeaux broth (downy mildew). Increasingly, however, special fungicides or plant strengthening agents are also being used. Control often has to be carried out several times during the growing season. When crossing new varieties, emphasis is now also placed on resistance to both types of fungus. It should be noted that some species of ladybird, which are among the most important beneficial insects in viticulture, feed exclusively on mildew. However, this is of no significance in controlling them in the vineyard.

Rose bushes are often planted at the edge of vineyards or at the end of each row of vines as an early warning system. They act as "sentinels" or indicator plants, so to speak, because they are attacked by both types of mildew earlier than the vines and thus inform the winegrower of the infestation in good time for the purpose of preventive defence measures. They also provide shelter for beneficial insects. This is common practice in the French wine-growing region of Graves, for example, but also in other countries.

POWDERY MILDEW (OIDIUM)

Powdery mildew is also known as "Oidium" or "Oidium tuckeri" after the gardener William Tucker, who first discovered the fungus in England in 1845. The causative agent of the disease belongs to the tube fungi (Ascomycota), the botanical name is "Erysiphe necator var. necator" or also "Uncinula necator var. necator". The fungus was identified and described in North America as early as 1834. It was probably introduced to Europe via England in the early 1840s and subsequently spread rapidly across the entire...

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Dominik Trick
Technischer Lehrer, staatl. geprüfter Sommelier, Hotelfachschule Heidelberg

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