Honeysuckle vines are vigorous plants that tolerate many growing conditions. My Lonicera Sipervens ‘Pink Lemonade‘ has been moved from house to house and landed in a very shady part of the front yard. It has done well there until 2014, an unusually wet year. Water combined with poor air flow created perfect conditions for the powdery mildew to establish.
I should have gotten on it right away, since this wasn’t my first rodeo with the fungus. But this was also a time when work was sucking the life out of me, taking every spare thought and even more energy. So instead of cleaning out the bed below the honey suckle and getting rid of leaf mold, in my laziness, I added to the problem by piling more leaves into the bed during fall leaf cleanup. I have eleven trees in my yard and at least 70% of all leaves stay in the yard for all the reasons you should follow nature’s lead.
Though here it allowed the mold to establish itself and by early spring this year the honeysuckles leaves were covered. I could tell the vibe needed serious help and fast.
Now that the issue was so apparent I started with selective removal of affected leaves. I removed as much as I could while trying to leave enough growth to allow the vine to get nutrients and energy. This meant leaving some of the less affected leaves. I then cleaned out the bed below clearing the ground of all leaf and compost material. I also removed some of the top layer of soil where mildew will over winter.
This bed is supplementally watered with two sprayer heads. I cut the tops of gallon water jugs and covered the sprayers to direct water straight down. I want to keep water off the remaining leaves and affected ground.
The best way to avoid powdery mildew is through good garden hygiene and proper watering methods.
I decided to forgo using fungicide at that stage to see if the plant had enough energy to fight off the rest.
Well you can see today that was a bad call.
So the question now, do I take the drastic measure of cutting it down to the ground? Will it survive?