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Thread: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

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    420 Member Medical Marijuana's Avatar
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    How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Introduction:
    Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that can seriously damage indoor and outdoor crops. Powdery mildew can rapidly infect crops in both vegetative and flowering stages, coating leaves, stems and buds in fungus.

    Powdery mildew typically thrives in cool, damp, shaded and poorly ventilated areas. Airborne spores brought into the grow room land on leaf surfaces and will germinate given favorable conditions. High night humidity levels often trigger the growth of mildew spores. Powdery mildew can attack indoor crops year round.

    Powdery mildew is almost impossible to stop in late flowering, so early detection and control is essential. Perpetual harvest, dense scrog/sog systems, and damp basement grows are particularly vulnerable to powdery mildew. Note: strains vary in their susceptibility.

    This FAQ focuses on indoor prevention and treatment options. Please read Bongaloid’s Powdery Mildew FAQ for more information.

    Identification, Symptoms and damage:
    Early signs of powdery mildew include white powder/fuzzy patches on leaves (usually low in the canopy) and a fuzzy white coating on lower stems. Note: powdery mildew can be wiped off the leaves for a quick visual check.

    These fuzzy mycelium patches produce airborne spores that rapidly attack adjacent plants; mildew will eventually coat leaves and entire plants, reducing photosynthesis, plant vigor and bud quality.

    Plants on the edge of a garden, in corners and under stress are attacked first; infection usually starts in the lower canopy where conditions are optimal. As infection progresses, mildew will spread to the top of the plants and finally attack the buds.

    Infected buds may appear normal; but are internally dusted with white powder (which cannot be removed by drying), and have a stale, musty/moldy smell when dry. Smoking or trimming infected buds can cause sickness and lung infections, and is not recommended. Infected leaves should be discarded. Lower buds are the most susceptible.

    Powdery mildew is difficult to 100% eradicate; control requires prevention, early detection, and pro-active measures.

    Preventive gardening:
    Preventative gardening techniques can be effective in defending against powdery mildew.

    Maintain healthy plants. Stressed plants are often attacked first, so it is important to monitor and remove unhealthy plants.

    Detection. Inspect corners, edge and lower portions of the garden frequently. Remove infected leaves, or move infected plants out of the main garden.

    Dont water plants at night. Reduce or stop watering before the lights have gone out to help evaporate and reduce room humidity (thnx dutchmaster).

    Reduce plant density. Spread plants apart to improve air circulation. Don’t place plants directly against walls or into corners, typically areas of poor air circulation. Pull plants 6”-1’ away from walls or reflective surfaces, and blow air to these areas.

    Pruning. Remove the lowest leaves as the plants mature and prune the bottom 1/3 of the plant during veg to increase airflow inside the lower canopy. Remove all unnecessary growth. Put an oscillating fan down low to blow through this pruned area.

    Foliar feeding. Foliar feeding can sometimes cause excessive nighttime humidity levels. Discontinue if mildew appears.

    Harvest early if mildew is a problem.

    Environmental control:
    Improving growroom conditions is an excellent way to passively prevent and minimize damage by powdery mildew.

    Monitor humidity levels. A quality humidity gauge should be used to monitor day and night r.h levels. Avoid prolonged high humidity levels: 50-60% r.h is ideal. Humidity must be kept below 70% during the night; levels over 80% will guarantee infection within 48 hrs.

    Ventilation. Constant air movement inhibits mildew, and lowers humidity. Use oscillating fans on all sides of a garden to circulate the air. Ventilate air out of the grow room periodically during the night cycle to reduce humidity from irrigation and transpiration.

    Note: Once mildew is established, oscillating fans may actually spread spores throughout the garden. Stop fans, treat infected areas, and then resume airflow.

    Heat night air. Warm air holds more moisture than colder air. Heat helps dry the air and lower humidity during the night cycle. Heat the room at night and exhaust the room periodically to remove this warm/moist air.

    Dehumidifier.Very effective in preventing mildew from spreading. Set controls for 40-60% and let run during night cycle.

    Hepa filter. Filter the intake with a Hepa filter to eliminate spores from entering room. Inspect and change filter frequently.

    Ionizer / Ozone generators. Leak some output to kill airborne pathogens and spores.

    * Sulphur burner. These devices vaporize (not burn) elemental sulphur, coat the room with a fine film of sulphur, inhibiting PM spores from germinating. Also inhibits insects to some degree.

    Run for 12 hours initially (at night, exhaust blower off, circ fans on), then 1-4 hrs/night thereafter. Some discontinue when buds begin to form, other let it run up to the last week. Very effective prevention.

    Chemical control:
    Note: Chemical information sourced from maximumyield.com and cannibisculture.com

    Chemical control should be considered a last resort. Chemicals should be sprayed only in veg or early flower to prevent absorption into the buds and burning bud hairs. Chemicals may have to be applied repeatedly to be effective, and may take a few days for noticeable results. Use a surfactant to help adhere chemical to leaf surface. Some chemicals are more harmful than others; follow label directions and observe precautions.

    Always spot spray first. Spraying individual leaves can be an option.
    Note: many chemicals will leave a residue that appears similar to powdery mildew!

    * Alkaline water:
    Alkaline water can affect powdery mildew, as mildew cannot grow in basic conditions. Mist plants generously with water at 8.0+ pH frequently; discontinue when buds begin to mature to prevent budrot.

    [Editor's note: this does work and is effective in late flower. Alkaline water does not seem to affect buds or bud hairs. The effect is temporary, but drastically slows mildew grow and spread. Reapply every 4-5 days.]

    Baking soda: Sodium Bicarbonate
    "Sodium collapses the powdery mildew cell wall". Baking soda leaves an alkaline residue on the leaves, which should be washed off with water before more is applied.
    Foliar spray: 15ml / gallon

    Potassium Bicarbonate:
    "Collapses and desiccates the mildew hyphae. Very safe, very effective contact fungicide". Kaligreen and Armicarb100.

    Garden sulphur:
    A common non-toxic spray, sulfur interferes with mildew cellular respiration. Spray young plants weekly before hairs form (or spray lower leaves only), then discontinue. Do not wash off. Note: dried sulphur spray looks similar to mildew. For best results, prune plants in veg/early flower, then spray lower stems and foliage. Warning: can give a sulphur taste if sprayed directly onto buds!

    Foliar spray:
    15-20ml sulphur powder/Liter water. Keep well mixed when spraying.
    Note: will not wash off buds. Re-application may be necessary.

    Neem Oil:
    Protects and kills mildew by inhibiting respiration; also protects against mites and may improve plant vigor. Results are noticeable in a couple of days.

    Pro-silica: (Soluble Silicon)
    ”… increases resistance to pathogens by accumulating in…(leaf and root) cells of plants, providing a barrier against penetration by invading fungi such as powdery mildew and Pythium. Foliar applications leave deposits of silicon…on the leaf surface that promote effective physical barriers to…infection.” Pro-silica is alkaline.

    Foliar spray: 1 part in 5

    SM90:
    A natural plant extract in a vegetable oil base.

    Foliar spray: 10ml/liter

    Copper Sulphate:
    "Copper ions inactivate some fungal enzyme systems, killing the mycellium."
    Effective one-shot application, but production may be discontinued.

    Benomyl: Apply in veg only.

    Malatox:
    by the chronic:
    …”This is a wonder cure. Mildew completely vanishes for up to 7 weeks! Make sure you spray before the first week of flowering.”
    Foliar spray: 2.5ml per liter of water.

    Biological controls:

    Unpasterized milk:
    Note: must be fresh, not store bought (which is pasturized). Diltute 10 parts water to 1 part milk. Works, although the milk may smell.

    AQ10:
    A biofungicide. Ampelomyces quisqualis is a fungus that "parasites the powdery mildew organism. It offers control over a long period of time." Effective only in initial stages of infection.

    Plant Shield:
    Plant Shield is a foliar spray (General Hydroponics), which kills many types of leaf and root fungus. Trichoderma harzianum strain T-22. Safe to use. Takes 2-10 days.

    Serenade:
    "The fermentation product of a bacterium, bacillus subtillis, that inhibits cell growth of fungi and bacteria. It is effective and easy to spray or use as a dip". Contact fungicide.
    Last edited by Medical Marijuana; 01-02-2008 at 11:03 PM.

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Thanks for the very complete and helpful article on controlling mildew in the grow room. The ideas will come in handy. I have noticed good results with Neem Oil, both foliar application and applying to the water that plants drink. The plants seem much healthier after drinking the neem and having it on their leaves. I have been using a powdery mildew product ( ) that has helped, but it did not completely correct the mildew problem.
    Of course, there are other factors I need to address in my evolving grow room, such as closing the door and installing HEPA filters on the air intake to the room and for the air that passes through the Air Cooled ductwork. Advancing to a closed air sustem in the next grow is my goal and this should prove very protective against mildew and other pests. In addition, I will modify nighttime humidity with a dehumidifier and warm nighttime ari as well.
    Each step leads toward a cleaner environment for the plants.
    Thanks again for the good writing.

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    New Member BCBuddha's Avatar
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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    I have battled PM on a few occasions over the years.

    Using a sulfur spray on plants in the Veg cycle is a great way to eliminate PM, vaporizers also are a great method of control in the veg cycle. But plants that are in bloom, using sulfur of any kind, is a really a bad idea, I speak from experience. Sulfur sprays work well in controlling PM, without a doubt, but leaves a film on the surface of the plants. When you smoke these treated buds, you will notice a very bad taste, this is the sulfur film. Once you treat growing bud with sulfur spray, powder or even a product like "Safer's End All", you have just ruined your crop. No matter what you do, you will never get rid of the taste from the sulfur treatment. Making Hash or Bubble Hash intensifies the taste, as does making Hash oil.

    The best thing to do is all done before you have a problem with PM.

    You must, up your air circulation with osolating fans, keep that air moving, also keep plants open more, not packed tight. Amount of plants does not dictate more finished bud, more light does this, not more plants. Keep humidity as low as possible(50% RH is very good), especially in the dark period, by using a dehumidifier(s). Never water just before lights out, this will raise the RH after lights out, always water at lights on, this gives the initial water vapor time to be removed by exhaust fans.

    If you do all the precautions and still end up with PM. Use a milk spray(1 part milk/ 10 parts water) instead of sulfur to control the PM until you crop out. Then you can clean your grow area out, I suggest "Wipe out" by "Advance" to sterilize the grow area. DO NOT use "Wipe out" on your plants, it kills all living matter it comes in contact with, including your plants. ONLY use "Wipe Out" on the walls, ceiling and floor in a empty room. Use as directed and you will have no problems, its great stuff. Once it has dried, you can place plants back in the treated room again.

    I hope this helps

    Peace...Buddha

    PS. DO NOT up the ratio of milk to water once you see it works, this will intensify your problem. More then a ratio 1:10 milk to water, will feed the PM.
    Proud Canadian &
    Medical MJ User

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Thanks BC Buddha,
    I appreciate the in-depth response.
    Part of the problem remains the cool, humid basement, which can be a blessing in the summer. RH currently is hovering about 54% and the temp is about 76 (this is a nighttime reading). I have a space heater in the room (flower room) and it seems to be helping keep temps up while lowering RH.
    I had a vortex squirrel cage fan hooked to my exhaust (6" ducting that goes straight out the room to a nearby chimney and out. This fan seemed to really drop the RH down but the temp was about 82-84 (perhaps a bit hotter than ideal. But the warmer temps and lower RH are preventive for powdery mildew. I've sprayed with neem and another organic baking soda and garlic product; it seems to work good. I think that another aspect of the fine-tuning process is increasing air movement under the canopy with oscillating fan. So, I lowered my fan down and it seems to help. I do not run fans during the night cycle; they lowered temps to about 61 and did not help humidity levels either. So all fans go off soon after the lights shut down.

    It's a learning process that's for sure. Getting all the elements right so the plants feel comfortable, and the pests do not, is challenging. I will soon install Dush Shroom filters on intake for fresh air into the room and for the fan that pulls air into the air-cooled circuit. This should help keep some of the fungus, mold, spores...from entering.

    I am slowly working toward the goal of being able to shut the grow room door without skyrocketing the temps. This morning's temp was 84 and RH was in the high 40's. So, another friend suggested a high velocity fan (8 " ) to replace the Lowe's entry level fan; this would be the fan that pulls air into the air-cooled circuit. He indicated that this should help bring the temps down to the more ideal range. So, I put his idea to the test and moved my squirrel cage fan to that spot and indeed it did lower temps. Although, for the most scientific test I would have had the door shut when conducting the test.

    The grow room (dedicated flower room at this point) has 6-600 watt lights. The room is a 10 x 10 room with just over 6 foot ceilings. So, it is a small space that requires extra consideration. I bend my plants extensively in veg currently to make certain that horizontal (rather than vertical) growth occurs. As it stands with this current grow (day 50 now) many of the buds are kissing the reflectors' glass. Amazing to see such growth after placed into flower.

    I'll wrap this with a final idea. I think I may purchase an ozone generator. It can be dialed down or up and it sounds like a safe way to help erradicate the mildew and mold that lurk in most every basement. Plus it should help air quality extensively.

    By the way, I run ducting from the lights to two floor registers and recycle the heat upstairs. It helps quite a bit to heat those two upstairs rooms. Plus it helps other areas as well. Hence the need to buy some dust shrooms to help filter the air before it comes upstairs. It is all in an air-cooled duct so I'm not concerned with smell as I am with spores, mold and mildew getting upstairs.

    Thanks again BC Buddha and take good care.
    Shondakay

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    New Member BCBuddha's Avatar
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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Shondakay,

    RH at 54% and a temp of 76 degrees Fahrenheit in the dark period, is well within the acceptable range.

    I think if you have reoccurring PM with those numbers at this time of year. You should look to your room being contaminated with PM spores, just waiting for that perfect environment so it can grow again with each crop. You are at Day 50 on the flower cycle, so you must be almost finished. Once you have cropped out, get some "Advance Nutes/Wipe Out" and spray your grow area down good, get into all the corners, give it a good soaking. Get new grow medium and wash all the pots. That should take care of your PM problems. I had to do it once myself, its a lot of work, but well worth it. If you sanitize your grow area for the next crop, I'm willing to bet you will not have a PM problem with the next crop.

    You said all fans go off soon after lights out because it keeps the temps up. I hope this is just supply and exhaust fans. Oscillating fans should run constantly dark or light. Having dead air in the dark period promotes growth of molds and mildews. Having the oscillating fans on in the dark period will not cool the room, it just moves air around. My finish room is 10'x10'x8', I have 3 wall mount 16 inch Oscillating fans that never stop day or night. Air movement is one of the staples of good growing.

    Last point....DO NOT introduce Ozone into the grow room, it will seriously damage your plants. I use to use Ozone to control smell on the exhaust, it started to leak into my grow area, wiped out the entire room, plants were so damaged all I could do was start over again. All I use is charcoal filters now, they work great, and they are much safer for the plants.

    Hope this helps.
    Peace...Buddha
    Proud Canadian &
    Medical MJ User

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    420 Member SSNUGS's Avatar
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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    SNS makes a great mildew treatment as well as a product called green cure both can be used in early stages of flower. The only other product i know of that works for late flower is a product made by NPK and its called PM Wash and is simply frequencied water with no chemicals that neutralizes the spores and washes of the flower and leaves leaving no residue. You can use this product the day of harvest if you need to. Just make sure you have proper air flow and room temp. After you harvest you really need to clean your room top to bottom. You can use a fungal bomb in the room after harvest or a sulfer burner to kill and remaining spores in the cracks and corners where you might have missed in cleaning.
    Be Irie likes this.

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Dear SSNugs,

    Thanks very much for your well-thought out ideas on mildew and its remediation. The creation and evolution of our grow rooms is a learning curve for sure. The PM wash from NPK sounds very effective and gentle on the plants.

    Thanks Again,
    Shondakay

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    BC Buddha,

    Thank you again for the good ideas. I will place my fans back on during the night cycle, along with the space heater the temp should remain in the mid 70's. I'll look into some wall mounted oscillating fans as well. Q: With your wall mounted fans, do you have the air blow over the top of the canopy to move plants? Or do you also have one moving air below the canopy?

    Thanks for clarifying the non-use of ozone in the grow room.
    Q: Could one be used outside the flower room?
    Although this would be very close to an open space where I veg plants; would the open space allow the ozone to be less concentrated and thus not affect plants adversely?
    Or even with open space (meaning no walls for the vegging plants) would ozone be harmful to the plants in the open as well as in the confined flower room?

    And since we have similar sized rooms, how many plants do you typically flower there?
    I am currently flowering 24, which is a bit too packed. I am considering going with 15 gallon cloth pots (16 of them). Four pots would be placed into one flood table (there are four, 3 x 3' flood tables total). This would make 16 plants in the room.

    On one side of the current grow, I have two flood tables that each contain TWO 18-gallon, rectangular plastic totes and a plant in each. In the far corner there are an additional two muck buckets with a plant in each (the buckets are 20 gallon size). So on that side of the grow there are six plants.

    The canopy and foliage looks to be the same as the other side of the grow, which has three times the amount of plants.
    That other side has TWO flood tables with nine 5-gallon pots per table.

    I share this because it hearkens back to your statement about light being the cause of more bud/flower growth and not plant count.

    So, I have also considered simply removing the small 5-gallon buckets and going with a grand total of eight 18-gallon rectangular tubs for the next grow. And for sure I will make it a perpetual grow this next time, adding 1-2 new plants per week (as the total plant count dictates) so that when I place the last plant(s) into the room then the first 1-2 plants should be ready for harvest.

    Any thoughts on plant count for the room BC Buddha?

    So much for a short reply.

    Thanks,
    Shondakay

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    New Member BCBuddha's Avatar
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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Shondakay,

    This is how my room is set up.

    I use the sealed system.

    It's a room that has no supply air from outside and very little exhausted air(room exhaust fan is 4" inline set on low), pretty much an air tight room. I use a Co2 burner(propane) in the winter and bottled Co2 in the summer, monitor set at 1000 ppm year round, to enrich the room. There are 4x1000w HPS lamps, inside air cooled glass tubes, they are cooled with outside air and vented back outside again(all fresh air = no smell). The air is pushed and pulled through the cooling tubes by 2x10" inline fans, to ensure maximum heat removal. There are 3x16 inch wall mounted fans, the oscillate in a figure 8 pattern, called "The Badass from "Advance Nutes". There is a 12000 BTU portable AC unit to help cool in the summer months and also dehumidifies.


    The room is set up in the coliseum step style, each shelf is 18 inches higher then the next, there are 3 steps including the floor. The growing medium is "Promix" soilless, placed in 3 gal. black buckets with lots of openings in the bottom and half way up the sides for drainage. These buckets are placed in another 3 gal. black bucket as water catchers.

    There is 30 plants in the room, all about 18" high when started and 36" when finished. The room gets on a average 0.5 grams a watt of dry bud. I have had more plants and still got the half gram per watt. I have gone under 30 plants and the room get less grams pre watt. I hand water with a wand hooked to a submergible(Sump) pump with a garden hose, I like to maintain a more personable relationship with my plants, so I hand water.

    A little to much info...Maybe.

    Peace...Buddha

    PS.To answer the question on Ozone. Unless the Ozone is used in a sealed system, it will hurt you and your plants.
    Proud Canadian &
    Medical MJ User

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    PM is the biggest pain in the ass. Once you've got it, you might as well trash your plants, clean the place thoroughly, wait a couple weeks, and start over. I use fans, dehumidifiers, only thing I do not use is a sulfur burner which might be the next step. Also, some strains are more weak to mildew. I never got PM until I started growing OG Kush and Lemon Diesel. After a cold spell I noticed a few spots on the leaves. Having never had PM before I didn't think too much of it. Before long, the infection had spread from my outdoor greenhouse plants to my indoor flower room where I was 45 days into flowering some OG Kush i invested a lot of time in. What a bummer.

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Dear BC Buddha and Growing 247:
    Thanks to you both for sharing your ideas on PM with me. Sorry to not get back sooner. BC Buddha, the information was not too much. Thank you for sharing about the details of your grow show. I like your container idea of one becoming the other's water catcher. Ingenious. Growing 247, thank you for sharing about your experience with PM as well.

    I purchased some PM Wash and applied to the veg plants; they seem happier. Also am running a fan 24-7 on them, although I may replace with a smaller one that does not cool the room off quite as much. Temps there have gone down to 60 and sometimes below when lights are off. So I placed a space heater there to up the air to around 70.

    In the flower room (where the girls have been given another week to grow), conditions seem manageable. The PM is only sporadic and I've used the PM Wash as well as Serenade powdery mildew, mold...formula. Stinks to high heaven (perhaps the presence of sulfur). This past Tuesday I cut down some stalks and trimmed up. They seem good and are nearly dry now (stems almost snap when bent). I am not using a fan in the drying room as the wall heater puts out a good stream of air when running. The buds look good, but they seem a tad bit dry. Well that's the idea but I was hoping to see more of a suspended animation of the sticky essence. Maybe I'll place of bowl of water in the room to up the humidity. Any ideas on drying?

    Well, I hope you both have great holiday times upcoming.
    Take good care and all the best in the new year.

    Sincerely,
    Shondakay
    Last edited by 420 Girl; 12-29-2011 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Guidelines

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    Damp Rid works wonders... It dry's bud fast you will not get Mold nor Mildew.. Best thing it's less then $10.00

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    What countries is this product(SNS-244) available. I am Canadian, can it be purchased here in Canada, if so, where?

    Peace...Buddha
    Proud Canadian &
    Medical MJ User

  15. #15
    420
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    Re: How do I Recognize, Control, and Prevent Powdery Mildew?

    From Sierra Natural Science
    We are not registered to sell in Canada. We are going in that direction and hope to be register next year. However, we are able to send "gifts" and "samples".

    Thank you,
    Ashley Lemons
    Sierra Natural Science
    ashley@sierranaturalscience.com
    Ph:(831) 757-1702
    Fax:(831) 757-1909
    Give them a call or email.

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