Crown Rot Help!
So I've been having trouble this summer with what I assume is crown rot. After we had all that rain this summer, I started noticing all sorts of water/humidity related problems, including plenty of powdery mildew and rot! I have heavy clay soil in a raised bed which I have amended with peat moss and top dressed with compost. Anyway.
I had some Arizona Sun blanket flower that ended up being planted a little too close together...each plant got larger then the seed packet said. So I'm sure that didn't help. Then all the rain. Then the last week of heat seems to have really done them in, because one by one, they are going all floppy (usually just one side first) and then I can easily pull the plant up...the stems just pop off at ground level. I've been cleaning up the debris as best as I can.
I went out and looked at one of my liatris spicata today; I had noticed that some of it's spikes had flopped over, and when I tugged on them, they popped right out!! Argh!! The leaves on those stems also look very floppy, like they haven't been watered in days.
So I have 2 questions. For one thing, if this is crown rot, it doesn't really look like the pics of crown rot that I've seen. There is maybe a VERY slight pale brown color down at the bottom of the stem (inside) but the rest of it looks perfectly healthy. The leaves and everything look healthy..very little yellowing. The crown does not seem to smell like anything but dirt. There isn't really mushy anything. Is this crown rot?
Secondly, if this IS crown rot, am I going to have a major problem next year? As in, will this over winter and I'll have the same plants-dying issues, except that it might spread more?
I'm getting pretty paranoid - tug-testing pretty much everything that looks remotely floppy...it just seems to keep popping up!