Weed & Grass Killer
For Pro Landscape


  • Non-Selective Herbicide
  • Visible Results in 3 Hours
  • No Glyphosate
  • Kills to the Roots
  • No Mixing
  • No PPE Required
  • Rain-Proof in 6 Hours
  • Safe for People, Pets & Planet
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Powered by sea salt, Earth's Ally Weed and Grass Killer is a non-selective herbicide that quickly kills weeds to the roots and offers a safer alternative to glyphosate. Kills all common weeds, including: broadleaf, crabgrass, dandelion, clover, ivy, chickweed and many more. Perfect for high foot traffic areas, like: parks, playgrounds, beach access, fence lines, driveways, sidewalks, patios and planting beds.

How We Compare

"I was thrilled to find a safe and natural herbicide that really works! It has been a great alternative to glyphosate that I will continue to purchase."

– Joe H., ASLA, PLA; Landscape Architecture, LLC

"We have been very happy with the results of this product. Easily the most effective glyphosate alternative currently on the market."

– Nick G., Terren Landscapes

Request a Sample

Are you a commercial landscaper interested in trying sample bottles of Earth's Ally Weed & Grass Killer? Send us a request by emailing our team at info@earthsally.com or by calling our office at 1-800-550-6259 from Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm EST.

Additional information

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2-pack of 2.5 gal, Pallett, Tote


  • Active Ingredient: Sodium Chloride (10%)
  • Other Ingredients: Water, Vinegar, Soap (90%)
  • View the product labels and SDS sheets.

Directions for Use

sunshine, shake, and saturate icons

For best results, apply on a warm, sunny day. Shake the bottle to mix ingredients and saturate the weeds you want to eliminate. Do not use during rainfall or when weeds are wet. Avoid overspray on desirable plants.


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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Master Gardener and Horticulture Expert

8 Natural Herbs to Grow for Tea

Imagine walking into your garden, picking an aromatic handful of leaves from your favorite herb plants, and making a cup of delicious tea. You can easily grow herbal tea plants in your garden to suit your taste along with their many health benefits. To help you get started here is a partial list of brew-friendly plants that can be used to make infusions that will soothe and restore, straight from your garden.

#1 Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberries are one of the easiest and most versatile shrubs to grow in a tea garden. They grow well in either full or part sunny locations and make a perfect backdrop for your shorter tea garden plants. The newer available varieties have highly ornamental characteristics such as purple or green and white variegated foliage. Growing elderberry is fairly straightforward. Elderberry gardens thrive in soils with plenty of moisture and even wet areas of your garden. For best fruit production plant at least two different varieties together. Elderberry tea is made from dried, ripe elderberries that have been boiled in water. The berries are rich in highly bioactive antioxidants which support the immune system. They could help soothe inflammation, lessen stress, and help protect your heart.

#2 Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Of all the herbal teas, peppermint tea is the most consumed throughout the world. Peppermint oil from the leaves contain high amounts of menthol which give the tea its strong, sharp, minty and cooling taste. Peppermint tea is said to be good for increasing alertness, enhancing mood, improving memory, helping people sleep, improving bad breath, boosting the immune system, and helping with symptoms of a common cold. Peppermint plant gardens are vigorous perennials that prefer moist but well-drained sites in full to partial sunny conditions. Peppermint plants have a running habit and will quickly take over an area if not managed by a containment of some sort.

#3 Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Because spearmint contains less menthol than peppermint, it tends to be sweeter and milder with many of the same benefits of peppermint tea. Spearmint also has a running habit and is best contained and managed in the garden.

#4 Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

It is believed that after the English tea was destroyed during the Boston Tea Party revolution, Bee Balm tea was used as a substitute. Because of its high thymol content, a strong antiseptic also found in thyme, bee balm is traditionally used for a variety of ailments including colds, flu, upper respiratory problems, fevers, and used topically for wounds. The species Monarda didyma is a beautiful garden perennial that attracts bees (hence the name bee balm) as well as other pollinators.

#5 Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Holy basil is an Ayurvedic herb widely used as a therapeutic tea. Holy Basil tea is described as “The Incomparable One”, “Elixir of Life,” and “Queen of the Herbs.” This is another member of the mint family closely related to culinary basil. The Holy Basil plant has been used for centuries to cure symptoms of many diseases and ailments; asthma, bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs and flu. It is said to promote a healthy response to stress, promote longevity, and nourish the mind. Inhaling the steam from a fresh cup of tea may help clear sinuses.

#6 Rose Petal/Rose Hip Tea

Roses with their timeless beauty and fragrance are often the centerpiece of the tea garden. Harvested buds, petals and hips add a tasty floral fragrance and tangy flavor when added either alone or with other loose tea combinations. Besides making a delicious red rose tea, rose petals may help lessen stress and anxiety, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and encourage healthy skin. Because rose hips are high in antioxidants and one of the best sources of vitamin C they are often used in vitamin supplements. Choose varieties of roses for flower fragrance and large rose hips.
*Note about using rose petal tea: Do not use or eat flowers from nurseries, florists, or garden centers. The pesticides used may not be labeled for food crops. Treat your rose garden with Earth’s Ally Disease Control and Earth’s Ally Insect Control.

#7 Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is known for its soothing scent and oil. Lavender flowers and leaves are used in aromatherapy, alternative medicine, beauty products as well as herbal tea. Lavender tea is made from flower buds that grow on long, upright, purple flower spikes. Drinking lavender tea may improve your mood and have a general calming effect. It may also improve sleep quality and skin health. In the tea garden, lavender performs as a reliable perennial in zones 5 through 9 if grown in well-draining soil in full sun.

#8 German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Matricaria nobile)

German chamomile is an annual and must be planted every year. It grows one to two feet in most any type of soil that is well-drained. Roman Chamomile (Matricaria nobile), on the other hand, is a perennial hardy in zones 4-9. This low growing chamomile will look its best when grown between flagstones or along pathways. Chamomile tea is made from the dried flowers of either species. Chamomile tea has long been used as a traditional folk remedy for a wide range of health issues. Some of its reported uses include; lowering blood sugar, slowing osteoporosis, reducing inflammation and helping with sleep and relaxation.

When preparing your tea harvest of fresh leaves, it is best to crush the leaves before brewing. Crush leaves using a mortar and pestle, kitchen utensil, or just use your hands. You do not need to crush flowers. If drying your herbs, you can hang them out of direct sunlight in an area with low humidity or simply place loose leaves and flowers on a tray or in a basket.

Here are a few final tips to gardening with tea-friendly herbs:

You can either grow them separately in a tea garden theme or include them in with your vegetables, annuals or perennial border. Many of them will attract pollinators while discouraging unwanted pests. Use them to add variety and flavor to your daily meals.

When growing your own, you can choose varieties that you will not find in your local store. There are some 30 different types of basil alone. Above all, have fun with the process; the growing, harvesting, and using these wonderful, healthy herbs.

Your tea garden herbs are susceptible to garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Avoid non-organic pesticides in your garden by using Earth’s Ally Insect Control and Repellent. It is safe for all your plants and will not harm bees or other pollinators.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow a tea garden. Share your experience and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Master Gardener and Horticulture Expert

Weed Trouble Zones

Weed trouble zones are areas virtually anywhere and everywhere that weeds spring up. Obvious areas would include cracks in driveways, pavers, and street edges. There are some unusual places to look out for as well, read on for all the details.


When scouting for weed trouble zones, don’t forget to look up.  Regardless of how tall your house is, leaves and twigs often find their way into your gutters.  As leaves decompose in your gutters, they become partially decomposed.  Gardeners call this leaf mold.  This leaf mold will provide the perfect conditions for the germination of weed seeds.  Not only that, if water flow through your gutters is blocked, it can pool inside the gutters, run over the side and send water to your foundation.  Leaf mold will hold up to 500% of its own weight in water.  If this water is trapped in your gutters for any length of time, they may even collapse. To remedy this, besides regular cleaning and inspection, you may want to purchase gutter guards. There are many types of gutter guards available that will keep your gutters leaf and weed free.  And while you’re at it, be sure to inspect other areas on your roof such as around chimneys, downspouts, and in between roofing shingles, especially if your roof is made of tiles.  

Areas Under Overhangs

Areas under overhangs remain dry for lack of natural rainwater, but that will not stop certain weeds. Weeds such as thistles and nettles will find a home there. Overhangs should not be planted unless you want to hand water because rainwater cannot reach these areas. The drip line where water runs off the house is a prime area for weeds to grow and flourish.  One solution is to use a weed mat in these difficult areas and cover with stones. Bring the mat and stone line beyond the overhang where water runs off your roof. You can even choose colored stones to match your house. Do not use mulch near your foundation as this can attract termites.

Low Areas in Your Landscape

Low areas will hold water and kill turf or many of our landscape plants. Water loving weeds such as chickweed, crabgrass, ground ivy, sedges and moss can find their way to these wet, unfavorable zones.  You can however, get creative with wet spaces by constructing a rain garden.  A rain garden is basically a depressed area in the landscape that collects water runoff that is planted with water tolerant plants.  Another solution is to put in a dry creek bed.  A dry creek bed is an effective drainage solution and a low maintenance landscape feature.  You can also change the elevation, add soil, a French drain, or add drainage pipes to the area.  

Bare Spots in Your Lawn                                     

Bare spots are caused by foot traffic, poor soil conditions, pet urine, grub infestation, chemical spills, or a variety of other reasons.   Bare spots in any open area are prone to weed infestation. If bare spots are in the lawn, disturb the soil lightly with a rake or hand trowel and re-seed.  You can also purchase grass plugs to immediately fill in the bare spots.  Grow a thick lawn by maintaining water and fertilizer levels and mow your grass high, taking off only about a third of the blade. The taller leaf blades will shade the soil and discourage weed growth.  Spot spray with Earth’s Ally Weed Control. This will effectively kill broad leaf weeds in grass.  Use a plastic cup with the ends removed to place over the weed to keep spray off the turf. 

Weeds Growing Through Groundcovers

One of the most challenging weed zone areas is among groundcovers.  In a well-established ground cover bed, weeds have a difficult time growing.  But weeds, especially in newly planted groundcovers, are a challenge. The key to groundcover planting is in the preparation.  Prepare your area carefully by first removing weeds.  Add compost or other organic matter.  In both established and newly planted beds you will need to hand-pull weeds from the beds until the groundcover is established.

Weeds Growing In and Around Your Garden Plants

Garden weeds often find shelter growing under and in between the stems of plants. Regular inspections are necessary to detect them.  Hand pull weeds that are inside the plants, but do not cultivate around your plants as this will encourage more weed seeds in the soil to germinate. Wondering how to keep weeds out of your garden in the first place? Keep a layer of mulch around your plants. Be careful not to put mulch on the plant stems.

Empty Beds

Cover empty beds left fallow during extended periods or over winter months. Cover with mulch or plastic. Black plastic can be used in the summer when it is hot. The heat will keep weeds from growing and burn out existing weeds.

Weeds Growing in Containers

Keep an eye out for weeds coming up through newly planted containers. They can quickly fill in and compete with your plants.  Water and fertilize your plants for fastest growth.  Add mulch or decorative stones around the plants to discourage weeds and retain moisture.

Habits and Persistence

Practice new habits to save work later on! Stroll through your garden with a good cup of coffee and pull a weed or two. Here are my tips:

  1. Persistence is the best tip; keep after them.
  2. Pull weeds after a rain, they will be much easier to pull. 
  3. Pull weeds before they set seeds.  
  4. Keep after obvious areas such as cracks in pavement or weed between pavers.
  5. Spray any of these trouble zones with Earth’s Ally Weed Control for immediate control. 

Earth’s Ally Natural Weed Killer

The Earth’s Ally formula is safe for People, Pets & Planet and eliminates common garden weeds, like broadleaf, dandelion, clover, ivy, chickweed and grassy weeds, including crabgrass. Earth’s Ally is a non-selective herbicide with zero pre-emergent properties, meaning it will not prevent the future growth of plants in the soil where it was used. It is a great garden weed killer for this reason.

I recommend incorporating a “Sunshine, Shake & Saturate” mantra when using the Earth’s Ally natural weed killer for optimum success. Sunlight works with the product’s vinegar and sea salt to kill common weeds to the root, with results appearing in about three hours.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you tame troublesome weeds. Share your experience and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right Weed Trouble Zones for Gardeners and Homeowners
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Time to Get Growing

Organic vegetables were once a hard-to-find item that required a trip to the natural foods store or local farmer’s market. Now that organic produce is mainstream and available in most major grocery stores, is there any need to grow your own? If you already grow vegetables using conventional methods, why go organic? There are many reasons to cultivate your own delicious homegrown organic produce. Here are five of the main benefits of growing your own organic vegetables.

#1 You'll Enjoy Tasty, Fresh Food Whenever You Want

Ever had a craving for a particular organic fruit or vegetable but found the store didn't stock it? Alternatively, perhaps you've brought home a bag of organic greens that are wilted before you found time to cook it all. Growing your favorites in the back yard ensures that you'll have convenient access to everything you need. It's much easier to step outside and grab a handful of fresh spinach or kale for your morning smoothie than it is to drive to the store. You'll find that your vegetables are much more delicious when they haven't been driven for thousands of miles or stored for some unknown time in a commercial refrigerator. 

#2 Homegrown Food is Bursting with Nutrients

When you grow your garden-ripened food, it has far more nutrients than anything you can buy in the store. Even organic food loses nutrients when it's stored using conventional methods for long periods. Also, while natural farming methods provide more nutritious food, large-scale industrial agriculture can't deliver the vitamin and mineral boost of garden-ripened produce. Instead of being pumped full of water to make up weight and rushed to the store before it's fully ripe, homegrown produce ripens naturally and has time to take up nutrients from the soil.

#3 You'll Save on Produce

Whether you're a fan of homegrown food who's looking to go organic or only a shopper who gets typically organic food, growing your organic produce can save you money. Organic produce at the store may be healthier and tastier than conventional produce, but it tends to cost more. That's money you don't have to worry about when you are growing your own.

If you're already growing food at home, switching to organic methods for Disease Control and Insect Control, like Earth's Ally, will protect the health profile of your fruits and vegetables while repelling insects and preventing future disease. Choosing OMRI Listed® products protects the investment you’ve already made in your garden. Organic gardening doesn't rely on artificial fertilizers or toxic chemicals. Because you're choosing solutions that are safe for People, Pets & Planet, instead you'll find you have better yields for your outlay and save time and money.

#4 You'll Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

Remember those refrigerated trucks mentioned earlier? They don't run on sunshine. Transporting produce from the farm, then to the processing plants, then to the warehouses, then to the stores -- all those miles add up to a lot of fuel and a lot of emissions. This is before we even consider the environmental impact of all the refrigeration needed to keep food fresh while it's transported. When you grow at home, there's no transportation cost, so you're improving the environment a little. Local organic planting supports a richer, more diverse range of species than conventional growing methods.

#5 You'll Experience a Closer Connection to the Earth

Growing your own organic fruits and vegetables provides a stronger sense of closeness to the land and everything living on it alongside you. As you experience the satisfaction of watching your crops grow and ripen, you'll develop a more meaningful connection to nature: the changing seasons, the different plants and wildlife around you, the way that the conditions you create contribute to your crops. This connection with nature can't be quantified, but it's one of the essential benefits of growing organic food.

As well as all these benefits, organic growers can enjoy higher levels of health and fitness. They are spending time outdoors, which is a great way to support your physical well-being. Growing organic brings you peace of mind, knowing that when your kids or pets join you in the garden, they won't be in danger from chemical treatments. An organic garden is a healthy garden, free from toxic herbicides or pesticides.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow organic fruits and vegetables. Share your experience and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right 5 Reasons to Grow Organic Vegetables
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As a Growing Number of National Retailers Respond to Increasing Consumer Demand for Non-toxic Garden Products, Earth’s Ally Expands its Reach with Availability in 60 New NorCal Ace Hardware Locations

SARASOTA, FL., March 17, 2021 -- Earth's Ally, a natural line of safe, effective and responsible organic gardening products, today announces its newest retail partnership with the world’s largest hardware retail cooperative, Ace Hardware, to make its natural gardening products more accessible to American households. 

Beginning in March 2021, the complete line of Earth’s Ally products, Insect Control, Disease Control, and Weed & Grass Killer, will be available for consumers to purchase in more than 60 NorCal Ace Retailer Group locations throughout California.

The distribution partnership with Ace Hardware follows other distribution announcements with major home improvement stores including Lowe’s (available May 2021) and HomeDepot.com, speaking to the rapidly growing consumer demand for organic gardening solutions. 

“The demand for safe and effective gardening products continues to grow, especially as more people take up gardening for the first time. As we head into spring, retailers are listening to gardeners who want a safe weed killer and non-toxic garden sprays that can be used around pets and children. Earth’s Ally is proud to offer an assortment of products that meet this need perfectly and make them available to consumers at Ace Hardware stores,” said Scott Allshouse, CEO and President of Earth’s Ally.

Safe for people, pets and the planet, Earth’s Ally products use food-grade ingredients, which are Field-tested, Farmer Approved® and proven effective. The team at Earth’s Ally is dedicated to educating consumers on the harmful use of synthetic chemicals in pesticides and providing more access to its safe and effective products for home gardeners, landscapers and municipalities.

Available Earth’s Ally products in NorCal Ace this spring: 

  • Earth’s Ally Weed & Grass Killer: Earth’s Ally Weed & Grass Killer is a non-selective herbicide that delivers visible results in 3 hours. Powered by sea salt, soap and vinegar, the Earth’s Ally Weed & Grass Killer formula kills weeds to the root without harming the earth and is FIFRA 25(b) Exempt. The formula leaves no harmful residual and is safe for use around pollinators, pets and children. 
  • Earth’s Ally Insect Control: Earth’s Ally Insect Control is an OMRI Listed® contact insecticide, miticide and repellent for use on houseplants and in organic gardens. Formulated with a high concentration of active ingredients, Earth’s Ally uses 100% botanical oils -- rosemary oil, clove oil, peppermint oil -- to provide a quick knockdown on mites and soft-bodied insects. The formula leaves no harmful residual and is safe for use around pollinators, pets and children. 
  • Earth’s Ally Disease Control: Earth’s Ally Disease Control is an OMRI Listed® contact fungicide and bactericide for use on houseplants and in organic gardens. Formulated with food-grade citric acid, Earth’s Ally is highly effective at treating and preventing powdery, downy mildew, blight, canker and leaf spots. The formula leaves no harmful residual and is safe for use around pollinators, pets and children. 

About Earth’s Ally

At Earth's Ally, we are committed to protecting our pollinators and offer a complete lineup of Bee Safe gardening products that have been scrutinized and tested by independent laboratories to ensure they are both effective and Safe for People, Pets & Planet. Our Field-Tested, Farmer Approved® Insect Control and Disease Control sprays have been selected from the most effective OMRI Listed® formulas in the organic agricultural industry and bottled specifically for the home gardener. Without using harmful and synthetic chemicals, we developed a Weed and Grass Killer formula that delivers visible results in three hours. Earth’s Ally formulas are proud to be Safe for People, Pets & Planet.

quotation mark right NorCal Ace Hardware to Add Earth's Ally Natural Garden Products
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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Master Gardener and Horticulture Expert

Organic Veggie Gardens, aka "Victory Gardens"

Interest in vegetable gardening has surged over the past year as a result of more people staying home, wanting to avoid frequent trips to the grocery store, and worries of food shortages during the pandemic. Because of these recent concerns the idea of creating a victory gardening has surged. Victory Gardens are not a new concept, they have been around since World War I.

So, what is a Victory Garden? The term was first conceptualized in response to food shortages during the war. Americans were encouraged to grow their own food to support the war effort.  Millions of new gardens were created as a result.  History seems to be repeating itself as we are witnessing a revival of this rewarding lifestyle. Today, new gardens are being created as gardeners are becoming “victorious” in their organic gardening pursuits. 

Get Started With Easy Vegetable Varieties

Getting started may seem overwhelming for some people and the common phrase is “I don’t have a green thumb.”  The truth is, you don’t need a green thumb, you just need to follow a few simple steps to be successful. 

First of all, you don’t have to have a large garden plot. You don’t even need a garden plot at all.  If you live in an apartment or condo and have just a tiny bit of space, you can grow many of your favorite herbs, veggies, and flowers in containers. 

Be sure to choose varieties suited to that style of gardening. Choose containers that will be large enough to hold your plants as they progress in size. A few varieties that are the easiest vegetables to grow in raised beds (and this is just a sampling of what’s available):

  • Lettuce: ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Tom Thumb’
  • Cucumbers: ‘Patio Snacker’ and ‘Spacemaster’
  • Eggplant: ‘Patio Baby’ and ‘Morden Midget’
  • Tomatoes: ‘Patio Princess’ and ‘Sweetheart of the Patio’
  • And there are many more…

Joining your local community garden is another great way to garden if you don’t have enough space in your yard but want to enjoy the many benefits of growing vegetables.  New gardeners can learn how to grow vegetables from others in a community setting as you share ideas as well as fresh food while making new friends. 

8 Tips To Help New Gardeners Be Successful

#1 Start with plants instead of seeds. You will save time and avoid any mistakes that can happen during the seed starting process.  

#2 “Location, location, location” is true for many things, and where to place your garden is no exception. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of sun every day.  Identify low areas of your yard that would pool water.  Avoid areas where there might be competition from tree roots. If you have many large trees that would compete with your garden for water and nutrients, you may want to consider planting in raised beds. 

#3 Raised beds offer some advantages such as ease of planting, weed control, and better soil.

#4 Whether you garden in raised beds, containers, or directly in the soil, be sure to invest in high-quality soil amendments.  Most soils are depleted of nutrients and microbial life vital to growing successful plants. Amendments such as compost, and worm castings or other organic matter will build a soil suitable for all your plants.

#5 Mulch the soil around your plants.  Keep mulch away from the stems of plants as this can injure them.  Mulch will also add organic matter to your soil composition. 

#6 Add a balanced organic fertilizer following package recommendations.

#7 Create a garden you can maintain. Don’t go big first time around. Start with a manageable size so you won’t be overwhelmed.  You can always expand later.

#8 Invest in a few simple tools; a shovel, rake, trowel, hoe, pruners, and gloves.  

Be Prepared for Vegetable Garden Pests and Diseases

Garden pests such as mites, white flies, and aphids can wreak havoc in your garden.  While we want to keep them off our plants, we do not want to harm pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Earth’s Ally Insect Control will control and repel these pests without harming the pollinators that are vital to your garden.  

Diseases can also affect your veggie plants. Mildews can attack cucumbers, spinach and other plants. Other diseases include blights and leaf spots that can cause problems.  Earth’s Ally Disease Control will protect your plants against fungus diseases safely and effectively.  You can harvest your crops the same day without worrying about harmful chemicals.

The Joy Of Garden-to-Table Food

To witness first-hand the germination of a seed and watch it transform into a garden treasure is an opportunity to participate in nature’s miracles.  From seed to plant, from plant to table the entire process is an enchanting experience. Have fun in your garden, whatever Victory Garden you decide to create.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow healthy vegetables. Share your experience and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right How To Start an Organic Vegetable Garden
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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Master Gardener and Horticulture Expert

How to Identify and Treat Plant Disease

Protect your plants from debilitating diseases by learning to recognize the symptoms and practice prevention.  A wholistic approach includes first identifying the pathogen.  Then decide on a treatment method that is safe, effective and responsible. Read on and bookmark this page for plant disease identification.

Black Spot 

Black spot is one of the most common diseases found on roses, but it can also occur on other ornamental and garden plants.  This fungal disease causes black, round spots that form on the upper sides of leaves. Lower leaves are usually infected first.  Severe infestations cause infected leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. Black spot is a problem during extended periods of wet weather or when leaves are wet for 6 hours or more. Black spot spores overwinter in the fallen leaves. 

Tips for Controlling Black Spots on Leaves

  • Plant in well-draining soil. Keep your plants healthy by providing regular feedings of organic fertilizer. This will help prevent fungal disease in plants.
  • The fungus spores overwinter in plant debris. Remove dead leaves and infected canes from around the plants and disguard in the trash. Do not add to the compost pile.
  • Disinfect your pruners with a household disinfectant after every use.  Ethanol or isopropyl alcohol can be used straight out of the bottle.  
  • Because water (not wind) spreads the fungal spores, avoid applying water on the leaves.  When you water, apply water directly to the roots. Use a soaker hose to water plants prone to the disease.

Other Leaf Spots

Fungal leaf spot disease can be found both indoors on houseplants, and outdoors in the landscape. This occurs during warm, wet conditions. As the disease progresses, the fungal spots grow large enough to touch each other.  At this point the leaf surface appears more like blotches than spots.  Leaf spot may result in defoliation of a plant.  Follow the same tips as the ones to control black spot.

Powdery Mildew  

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects many of our landscape plants, flowers, vegetables and fruits. Powdery mildew is an easy one to identify. Infected plants will display a white powdery substance that is most visible on upper leaf surfaces, but it can appear anywhere on the plant including stems, flower buds, and even the fruit of the plant.  This fungus thrives during low soil moisture conditions combined with high humidity levels on the upper parts of the plant surface.  It tends to affect plants kept in shady areas more than those in direct sun.

Tips for Controlling Powdery Mildew

  • Inspect plants that you buy from a greenhouse before purchasing for mildew (and insects). 
  • Wiping off the leaves is not an effective powdery mildew treatment as it will return within days of cleaning.
  • Because spores overwinter in debris all infected debris should be removed. Trim and remove infected plant parts. 
  • Do not till the debris into the soil or use in the compost pile. 
  • Space plants far enough apart to increase air circulation and reduce humidity.

Downy Mildew

Because downy mildews differ from powdery mildews, it is important to understand the differences between the two.  Powdery mildews are true fungal pathogens that display a white powdery substance on the upper leaves.  Downy mildews, on the other hand, are more related to algae and produce grayish fuzzy looking spores on the lower surfaces of leaves.  To identify downy mildew, look for pale green or yellow spots on the upper surfaces of older leaves.  On the lower surfaces, the fungus will display a white to grayish, cotton-like downy substance. Downy mildew occurs during cool, moist weather such as in early spring or late fall.  Spore production is favored by temperatures below 65°F and with a high relative humidity. 

Tips for Downy Mildew Treatment

  • Downy mildew needs water to survive and spread.  It there is no water on your leaves, the disease cannot spread. Keep water off leaves as much as possible.   
  • Because the disease overwinters on dead plant debris, be sure to clean around your plants in the fall to help prevent the disease in the following spring.

*Some of the fungicides used to control powdery mildew will not control downy mildew.  Earth’s Ally’s fungicide will control both powdery and downy mildew.


Plant blight is a common disease. Remember the potato famine in the 1840’s?  As a result of the blight, one million people died.  But other than potatoes, blight also affects other plants, particularly tomatoes. Blight is a fungal disease that spreads through spores that are windborne.  For this reason, spores can cover large areas and rapidly spread the infection.  Blight can only spread under warm humid conditions, especially with two consecutive days of temps above 50°F, and humidity above 90% for eleven hours or more. No cure exists.  Prevention is the only option.

Tips for Preventing Blight

  • If growing potatoes, grow early varieties because blight occurs during mid-summer and you can harvest your crop before the blight.
  • Plant resistant varieties:  Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Axona are two varieties that show good resistance. Practice good garden hygiene. 
  • Destroy any blight-infected plant parts.  Keep the area clean of fallen debris from your diseased plants and discard in the trash.  Do not add to your compost pile.


Canker is often identified by an open wound that has been infected by fungal or bacterial pathogens.  Some cankers are not serious while others can be lethal.  Canker occurs primarily on woody landscape plants. Symptoms may include sunken, swollen, cracked or dead areas found on stems, limbs or trunk.  Cankers can girdle branches, and kill foliage. Cankers are most common on stressed plants that have been weakened by cold, insects, drought conditions, nutritional imbalances or root rot.  Rodents can also spread the pathogens.

Tips for Controlling Canker in Plants

  • Remove diseased parts in dry weather.
  • Grow resistant varieties whenever possible.
  • Avoid overwatering and overcrowding; avoid mechanical wounds such as damage from lawn mowers.
  • Wrap young, newly planted trees to prevent sunscald. Sunscald creates dead patches that form on trunk and limbs of young trees if the trunks have been shaded, then transplanted to sunny areas.
  • Keep plants healthy by planting in healthy soils and maintaining nutritional requirements.

Tips to Control Plant Fungus and Diseases

First and foremost, build a well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter prior to planting. Raise the beds if necessary and fill the beds with a commercial potting mix that drains well. Soils that hold too much water can cause rotting. Avoid getting water on leaves. Hand water at the root zone or use a soaker hose. Fertilize as necessary to keep plants in peak condition. 

  • Choose resistant varieties whenever possible.
  • Prune or stake plants, do not crowd them, and remove tall weeds to improve air circulation.
  • Plants in containers can be placed away from areas that do not receive air circulation.
  • Remove any infected debris to keep the disease from spreading. Remove and place in the trash (not in the compost bin) severely infected plants.
  • Water during early morning hours so the plants can dry out and avoid getting water on the leaves.  Water later in the day if downy mildew is present as it favors morning moisture. Either way, avoid getting water on the leaves.  A soaker hose will keep water at the root zone and help keep the spores from spreading.
  • Inspect all plants before purchasing from your local greenhouse for disease symptoms and pests.
  • Disinfect pruners after cutting diseased plant parts. 
  • Purchase a hand lens. A 10x hand lens is a great way to detect fungus and insect problems.  Besides that, a hand lens allows you to see thing in nature difficult to see with the naked eye.

Keep all parts of the plant protected by using a fungicide for plants. Earth-friendly fungicide spray like plant Disease Control is an OMRI Listed® contact fungicide and bactericide for use on houseplants and in organic gardens. Formulated with food-grade citric acid, Earth’s Ally is highly effective at treating and preventing the common plant diseases outlined in this article.

These steps will build a healthy immune system and help avoid disease (and insect) problems. Diseases and pests tend to attack weak, stressed plants.  Think of your immune system. The better it is, the better it will fight disease.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow healthy plants. Share your experience with the Disease Control formula and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right Common Plant Diseases
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