Juliuskitty wrote:Please, I have heard other people say to use milk for fungus too. How does milk stop fungus?
Truth is this particular technique appears to be controversial among the scholarly articles.
There are different reasons given when you look around. Some scientists even debunk the concept, and some scientific articles say it's a myth. Some say it works to prevent only some fungal disease and not others. Yet I have used it on all kinds of plants and found it to be effective in varying degrees. I think it IS best used as preventative, and that's what makes it difficult to quantify. (If fungal disease doesn't or only minimally appear after spraying diligently, is it because you sprayed or is it something else?)
- The first I've heard about it was based on its use on grapes -- I think this was in NAPA valley and in Australia.
- I've also read an article stating that dipping hands in solution of powdered milk to make up 30% MILK PROTEIN is effective for preventing spreading disease if used to dip hands in between touching diseased tomato plants. If I remember correctly, it wasn't fungal disease this article was talking about but some kind of virus, which I found interesting.
- I have read that definitive proof came from an article from a South American research on a non-tomato plant... a cucurbit, I think
I think I've posted the actual links to these articles somewhere before. I'll try to find them later.
My first understanding was that the lactobacillus would act as a shield by coating the leaves. Like all bacteria, they create biofilm which help them stick to the leaves and grow into the pores even when it rains, so unlike chemicals they won't be easily washed off. Their presence makes it more difficult for fungal spores to take foothold. Lactobacillus has it's own set of fungi that prefer to grow in it, those fungi will compete with fungi that are inimical to the plants for the space on the leaves. If they have spread their hyphae on the surface of the leaves, there is no room for the fungi that feed on the plants to take hold or grow (or they have to first fight for that first foothold).
This is where you discard the idea that you must kill/stop ALL fungal activity in order to save the plants. You are fostering biodiversity on the phyllosphere.
This is why I like to alternate milk spray with AACT.
In addition to or as opposed to the lactobacillus directly being fungicidal, one university research concluded that it's the milk protein that is effective in killing the fungal spores and the milk spray should be applied in presence of sunlight. -- Reading that gave me a pause because I had been concentrating on NOT spraying in direct sunlight. After some thought, I decided to continue choosing overcast days and even imminent gentle (not downpour) rain days and sundown to spray with milk. This has worked for me so far. And I think particularly with furry plants like tomatoes that can soak up and hold the solution and end up increasing the concentration in the sun, it's best to avoid spraying anything when the solution can dry up quickly (sunny, windy, ...). In fact I tend not to spray the milk solution on dry plants.
I think that thoroughly spraying top and bottom of the leaves also means significant amounts fall to the ground, thereby increasing the lactobacillus count in -- and enriching/feeding -- the soilfoodweb, which also would be adding to the plant's health and strengthening their immune system. I would think analysis of the milk solution should indicate a certain level of N and P (not sure about K), as well as minerals and other micronutrients, so you are effectively foliar feeding and soil drenching the plants as well.