Saturday, July 6, 2013

Help Wanted: Inquire Within



I recently came home from a trip to discover three of my plants had developed weird spots and the leaves had turned brown.


While I was gone, we received over 2.5 inches of rain. My first thought was that the silene regia 'Prairie Fire' pictured here were suffering from too much water, but the entire plant isn't affected, only certain parts. My silene grows in a pot but the pot drains well.


The leaves have brown spots and the leaves that are completely brown are dry and crispy to the touch. But not all of the leaves are affected.


Despite the problems with the leaves, a few blooms have opened.


Even new growth is infected.


I'm worried the plants might have a virus or bacterial infection because both the silene and a clump of liatris ligustylis in a nearby pot are affected. Do you think this might be botrytis?


Pathetic pot of affected liatris plants


They're still putting our new growth despite the weird spots on the leaves.

  

The silene share a pot with a 'Tiki Torch' coneflower that also has weird spots on its leaves.


The coneflower is blooming but the flowers are small and runty.


Here's the whole wretched lot. The liatris in the front pot are unaffected as are the neighboring plants.


Except the vernonia (New York ironweed) in a bed nearby are also have weird spots on their leaves. We've had a very rainy spring/summer that I think has helped spread disease.


The flowers are unaffected. Do you have any idea what the problem might be?


37 comments:

  1. Sorry, no. It looks like quite a problem though, hope you figure it out.

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  2. I have something similar, and we have had tons of unusual rain also. Only one or two stems of a plant seem to be affected..and not every plant. I hope that you figure it out.

    Jen

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    1. I think the spots on the crappy coneflower are septoria. I read to spray it with a fungicide. I'll do that and pull off the diseased leaves but if it doesn't improve, I may just rip it out. :(

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  3. I did not realize that you all were getting that much rain as well! Good luck with your plants and those crazy spots! The only time I have ever seen something close to that is when my neighbors shrub in our side yard developed those same yellowish spots...hope you get some answers asap!

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    1. If the new foliage on the liatris develops spots, too, then I'm going to rip everything out. What a waste of money. :(

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  4. I have not seen that before and can offer no help, and hope someone will.

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  5. I've never seen anything like that. Can you take some leaves to a local nursery and get a consult?

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  6. What a shame ! Have never seen anything like it before, but can only offer that warm , moist conditions are ideal for the spread of spores/ mould/ bacteria etc but, hey, you already knew that ! Good luck getting it sorted. Worryingly weird weather all over the globe ... we have SUN here in the uk! How weird is that ? Hot, sunny sun !

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    1. I was just in England and noticed your heat wave was coming just as I was leaving! But I can't complain. Had great weather for the trip. :o) Our extra rainy summer has spread a couple if disease around the garden. I guess it's the price I pay for not having to run the hose but it's been a real pain. Heat + humidity + rain = weird spots!

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  7. I don't know what the disease is but I think you have to put them apart, in another side.
    Good luck!

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    1. I ended up pulling out the most heavily affected plants and spraying everything with a fungicide.

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  8. Well that is just ugly to have happen to one's plants. Not sure what it is. Maybe a rust spore? Hope it doesn't kill the whole plant.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I think the plants will survive. Only the leaves are affected while the stems are healthy. But I ripped out a bunch that looked sickly.

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  9. Sorry about your diseased plants.....I think they missed you while you were away.
    Thank goodness Rob above knows what it is, so now you can bring out the big guns to deal with the problem....Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks! I love how smart other bloggers are. I knew someone would be able to help. :o)

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  10. One of the keys is that it is effecting different genus plants in the same manner. If there are no external spores like in a powdery mildew, then it is probably a systemic or bacterial blight. Cut one of the stems that is badly affected and see if you find any dead tissue or necrotic tissue inside the stem. If so then it is a bacterial blight and you need to remove all affected plants immediately. Be very careful to remove any plant material and keep it from contacting neighboring plants. Best to do all of this work when everything is dry to reduce transmission. Clean your tools and hands after touching the plants because you can transmit very easily to other plants. Do not use your pruners on another plant before dipping in rubbing alcohol. These types of diseases can be brought on in humid and moist weather and transfer very easily. There is nothing you can do once they are affected. If there is a plant you must keep and want to try an save then isolate it and prune out all of the damaged plant material and be very careful not to cross contaminate.

    Minimize watering

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  11. Cut a few stems of different plants and let me know what you see.

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    1. I cut a stem of both the liatris and the silene regia and the stems are green and healthy. I've pulled out all the plants that looked the worst, pulled off all the diseased leaves, and blasted everything with a fungicide. I've been cleaning my pruners with Fantastic, the anti-bacterial kitchen cleaner because I don't have any rubbing alcohol. What's your diagnosis, doc?

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  12. Sounds like the experts weighed in already. I was going to say a bacterial disease, too. Sometimes my Black-Eyed Susans and Roses get spots like that. With the Roses, I cut them way back, and then they seem to perform better and bloom again later in the summer. But since yours are in pots, changing the soil seems like a good idea, too. Good luck!

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    1. My plants are definitely sick but I think they're going to survive. I've already done as much as I could am I'm just waiting for Dr. Reed to give me his final diagnosis. I think he and Rob have hit the mark. I knew other bloggers would help me find a solution! It's always wise to have smart friends. :o)

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  13. The fact that the condition is effecting plants that aren't related is worrisome. If I didn't know better I'd wonder if they weren't being harmed in some chemical fashion. Is there any way that they may have been peed on by a neighbor's dog? Is there any way that the rain that splashed on them in this location has been contaminated with some chemical solution? Chemical drift from a neighbor's pest or lawn treatment? These seem like long shots... but I get worried about environmental contamination when I see what looks like disease damage that crosses species, especially if they are all clustered in one location. My two cents... :(

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    1. The only way a dog could have peed on the plants is if it were a great dane with excellent aim since they are high up on the stairs that lead to my back door. :o) I idea that this is chemical drift is excellent, too, but I have 2 garden beds between these pots and my neighbors. I think the lack of air circulation in this spot combined with lots of rain and heat and created the perfect environment for disease. Anthracnose is an equal opportunity offender. It will invade everything, even trees.

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  14. I was thinking it looked like it could be a chemical problem too, especially if the plants aren't (weren't) actually dying.

    If you have any plants that still have spots on the leaves (I know you said you ripped a bunch out), I'd suggest watching carefully to see if the spots spread (which would suggest a disease) or if they don't, which would suggest they somehow got blasted by some chemical.

    In my experience, I have some coneflowers get sick toward the end of the season (with powdery mildew and such), but I let them soldier on and the cold weather seems to kill off the problem, because the plants have seemed healthy the following springs. It's a low-intervention approach! :)

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    1. My first thought was to rip out everything in the pots, dump the soil, and start over. But then I'd never know if my plants would survive or not. So I moved the plants further away from the house to increase air circulation, ripped off all the diseased leaves, and pulled out the worst looking plants. Then I blasted away with a fungicide. Of course, it then rained, which normally I would love, but rain spreads this type of disease.

      I've had mildewy coneflowers, too. It's a stress response from lack of water and air circulation. But you're right about them coming coming back just fine the next year. :o)

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  15. In my country this is can be seen if we water the leaves during very hot weather. Thus, my instruction to my help is to water the soil only when the leaves start to wilt under the hot sun. As the leaves look rather unsightly, I simply snipped them off.

    In your case, it doesn't look like fungal/bacterial infection or pest infestation as the plants look healthy.

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    1. We've had an unusually rainy spring and summer which has created the perfect breeding grounds for a host of diseases. But it's also given me a lush garden, so I can't complain too much. I have to take the bitter with the sweet.

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  16. So sorry it is on two different plants! That's bad, my friend. My best guess is leaf blotch.
    Here's a run down on all the types of blotch. I'd get rid of the soil as well and clean up with bleach. The wet weather triggered this. It's definitely NOT rust or mold which is a good thing. Rust spores stay around forever and reinfect plants from year to year. This looks like a temporary ailment. Best wishes. David/:0)
    http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/pdf_pubs/648.pdf

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    1. Oh, I forgot to mention, google 'leaf blotch' on google images and you'll get a cornucopia of brown patches and such. It's not a perfect match, but similar to yours.
      David/:0)

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    2. I scraped away the top layer of soil in each pot and then blasted away with the fungicide again. I'm going to give it a day to dry out and then cover with fresh soil since we have more rain coming. Now I just have to wait and hope everything doesn't drop dead.

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  17. Sounds like there's some pretty solid advice being given here. I have no idea the cause but certainly wet conditions cause all sorts of dampness and humidity which isn't good, and then of course the splashing on the ground up onto leaves will help spread any disease as well. Here's to hoping it dries out a bit (but not too much!)

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    1. I want all the positive effects of rain but none of the negative! Waaahhh!

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  18. Cooperative Extension....it is why they are there. Know they will be helpful.

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  19. Hi Tammy, I'm afraid I'm not good with identifying these kinds of things, but you're not the only one with funny goings on/ I've lost many plants to some sort of sudden-collapse syndrome. No idea what's going on but it's only with small/young plants. Established plants seem OK. After the amount of rain we've had until recently, I refuse to believe it is due to a lack of watering. I hope you're able to fight back against the infections. Proper hygiene is the key, taking away all affected material (and not putting it on the compost heap) and using clean/steralized cutters for cutting out the affected parts.

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