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Old June 8, 2013   #1
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,510
Default bleach spray

I want to clear the air so to speak on my use of a diluted bleach spray that I have found to be very effective in treating all manner of foliage diseases. I have used it successfully on tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, cucumbers, onions and roses. I'm sure it would work on other plants but these are the ones that frequently get foliage diseases.

First of all it is not a last resort or nuclear option. It is very important for it to be used early in the disease stage for it to be most effective. To wait only allows the diseases to affect more plant tissue which will be damaged by the bleach spray. The biggest problem that people have with using it is waiting too long to use it. It is almost pointless to wait til your plant is totally diseased to use the bleach spray as most of the plant will wither when the diseased tissue reacts to the bleach spray. I have posted pictures of my plants in the photo section and all of them have received at least 3 treatments with the bleach solution and the tomatoes have received 5 treatments so far. As can be seen in the photos the plants are healthy and growing and setting fruit very well. I live in an area with very high humidity and heavy disease pressure and I have a lot of experience using the bleach spray so I use it more often than many would be comfortable with.

Second the bleach spray does nothing to prevent new outbreaks of disease, other than killing the spores present on the plant, because it oxidizes so fast that it is gone in a matter of minutes after spraying. If you live where diseases appear frequently it is very important to use some type of fungicide as a preventative and to keep plants pruned to allow air and light into them to reduce conditions which allow diseases to develop and spread rapidly.

First off let me warn you that they have changed the formulation of Clorox so it is much stronger than it used to be. Check and see if you have the older formula with 6% sodium hypochlorite or the new concentrated formula that has 8.25% sodium hypochlorite.
*If you have the new concentrated regular Clorox with the 8.25% sodium hypochlorite then use one full gallon of water and add 5 ounces of bleach and a few drops of dish washing soap.
*If you have the old formula with the 6% sodium hypochlorite then start with one gallon of water and add 7 ounces of bleach and some dish washing soap.
These are the formulas I use more frequently. If it is very rainy and wet or I'm dealing with a very bad outbreak I will up the strength of my solution a bit starting by increasing the bleach in the solution by 1/2 ounce the first time and by 1 ounce the second time. I rarely use it stronger than that as leaf burn on new growth can occur.

I prefer spraying very late in the day when the sun is down. You can spray before sunup very early in the morning. If the plants are wet you can boost the strength of your mixture a bit but don't over do it. Start out with a slightly lower strength for your first spraying and see how the plants react to it before going with the stronger mix. Try to spray with a fine mist and hit all portions of the plant and even the mulch or ground under the plant. Give it two full days and then check the plants and see how well it has killed off whatever disease you are fighting. Clip off the dead and dying leaves and respray if necessary. Then follow up with a fungicide for prevention and if the diseases return you can treat again. During times of extended rainfall when fungicides won't remain on the plants you can go out and spray this bleach solution on the plants when it isn't raining. If the leaves are very wet then you can increase the strength of the formula just a bit since the wet leaves will dilute it further but don't over do it.

Make sure to rinse and clear your sprayer immediately after using any bleach solution as they are very corrosive. Make sure to never add any other chemicals to a bleach solution except a few drops of dish washing soap as a surfactant. Discard any unused spray solution and make new each time. I use a SP Systems backpack sprayer that is approved for mild bleach solutions so I haven't had any problems with it messing up anything on my sprayer but it will mess up a little bottle sprayer pump fairly quickly so if you use one of them make sure you rinse and clear it. It will rust a metal sprayer if left in it too long.

This spray will not help with any kind of systemic disease like fusarium or TSWV. As a matter of fact it really can be helpful in diagnosing some diseases because it is so effective against molds and fungi that the quick reaction to it will tell you that you are probably dealing with a treatable disease and if you get no reaction from the spray treatment then you are dealing with something like a systemic disease or a deficiency of some sort.

If you are afraid of using this solution on all of your plants then by all means I recommend just trying it on a few of the worst ones and see how it works on them before using it on more. I am amazed at the lengths some will go to, using very expensive and usually ineffective treatments when a safe, fairly cheap, and easy one to use is readily available just sitting in their laundry room. I am a big proponent of using the bleach solution because I have seen how well it can work if used correctly and early enough. I hope this will help some of you having issues with hard to control outbreaks of diseases and in answering some of the questions on the subject of the bleach spray.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg NE view of bed #3__ 6-3.jpg (288.9 KB, 1252 views)
File Type: jpg SW veiw of bed # 5.jpg (326.7 KB, 1235 views)
File Type: jpg RS-PP__ 6-3___bed #5 (planted 4-22).jpg (269.2 KB, 1204 views)
File Type: jpg Squash in bed #4__ 6-3.jpg (295.0 KB, 1200 views)
File Type: jpg Veiw of cucumbers planted on ends of rows 6-3.jpg (293.5 KB, 1185 views)
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