(June 26) Downy mildew has been spotted on cucumbers at two farms in north-central Ohio, in a greenhouse in Ontario and in a Michigan garden.

Sally Miller, a plant pathologist at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center, said June 26 the same strain of downy mildew has occurred in Ohio and Michigan the past two years. However, the disease has turned up earlier than expected this year, and that could be a problem for growers who have not treated their fields.

“This particular disease is really devastating,” she said. “Growers need to know they need to apply fungicides to protect their plants.”

Miller said growers in the region should be scouting their fields for the yellow spots that appear on the top of leaves and the gray fungus that follows on the bottom side of leaves. Spores are carried by the wind, and the disease also can affect melons, squash and pumpkins.

Ohio is not a significant source of fresh cucumbers, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, but Michigan was the fourth-largest fresh grower in 2006, with more than 800,000 cwt.