Texas Root Rot

foofoo(Gilbert, AZ)August 30, 2006

We have lost 2 peach trees and found out that we live in an area where cotton grew and the reason our trees died was caused by Texas Root Rot. Citrus grows great, but unfortunetly other fruit trees will not survive. Anyone else have this problem? We do have a Fig Tree that is doing well. Hopefuly it'll not be effected. The trees were both loaded with fruit and almost over night their leaves turned brown,but didn't drop off. The fruit just dried up and the tree died. I was told there is absolutly nothing we can do to the soil to prevent the rot. Guess we'll just plant some more citrus and cross our fingers.

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Hi Foofoo,

The loss of any tree is heartbreaking especially one that gives you tasty fruit. Cotton (Texas) Root Rot gets blamed for many plant failures but it may not be the reason your trees died. Did you have your tree's roots analyzed at a laboratory for a diagnosis? It is impossible to confirm TRR from a soil sample. Instead pencil to finger-sized roots must be examined under a microscope for the tell-tale fungal strands that grow on them.

TRR is indegenious in our soils and affects many non-native plants. Most natives are resistant - there has never been a confirmed case of TRR on mesquite for example. Palms, yucca, agave, lilys, and grasses are immune. TRR does not migrate through the soil, but if roots grow into a zone where the fungus is it can travel on roots and if roots touch neighboring palnts' roots it can grow onto those as well.

Citrus are not immune to TRR, so planting a tree where your peach trees died may not be a good idea. It generaly takes about two years for a tree, planted in a known TRR zone, to become affected by the disease. If your healthy citrus and fig (or other shrubs/plants) are located close to the dead peach trees, I would wonder why they are not affected. It could be that your peach trees died from other causes.

In our climate the expected life span of a peach tree is about 15 years. You didn't mention how old your trees were but there is always a chance that they died of old age. Do you live on a flood-irrigated lot? That would be ideal for peach trees or other stone fruit as well.

Please let me know if you have other questions or if I can help in any way.

Certified Arborist

Here is a link that might be useful: Cotton (Texas) Root Rot

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 11:37AM
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