HELP!! what is wrong with my lollipop and crimson pixie lilies?

grandma_gardener_02June 28, 2012

I need some MAJOR help. Two years in a row now my lilies, especially the lollipop ones, get leaves browning and dying from the ground up until the entire stalks are brown with dead leaves hanging down. I have tried dusting with copper fungicide as I read somewhere that the lilies must have botrytis. But now I have read that copper is poisonous to the soil and kills off beneficial organisms. Last year I cut the stalks to the ground after the plants had flowered and the entire stalks were brown and dead looking, and dusted the ground with the copper fungicide. This year they came up at first very green and healthy with beautiful flowers, but then started having the same problem even though my husband dusted the base of the stalks and the bottom leaves with it after the problem started. I just got finishing digging up the all my lollipops, bulbs and all, before the dead leaves crept all the way to the top, and then dusted the ground heavily with copper fungicide. What have we done? I am wondering if I should completely dig up the soil that I just put the copper on to save nearby plants and so I can use the soil for new plants next year? Do you think I could clean up the bulbs and resuse them or are they now contaminated and shouldn't be used again. If I can use them again, when do I plant them? OR can I get new bulbs and try again? I am very worried that I have done something very wrong.

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I do not think you've done anything wrong. Those varieties are prone to bortrytis. And bortrytis went totally crazy in my garden too this year. There is not so much you can do about it as it is very weather dependent(especially cold and rainy). You can burn all the infected leaves and stalks and hope for the better luck next year. I have observed that some lilies which were well hidden among other plants were not hit. Try to spread them further apart from each other for next year and see if it helps. You can remove the first infected leaves at once to stop/slow down infection.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Yes, you have good ol bortrytis and it is an awful thing. : had it in one of my beds last year and it wiped out 2/3 of that bed. Make sure you get rid of all the leaves and stalks because it can spread. Of course, because the leaves feed the bulbs, here in my zone 3 garden, they didn't make it. some of the small bulblets that had not top growth yet survived and they are starting again but are really small and I have ordered new bulbs for next spring. Good luck

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 1:34AM
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OK. Apparently you all think that I didn't need to dig up the bulbs. [By the way, the bulbs I dug up looked great.] Therefore, am I correct in believing that the bulbs do not transmit botrytis?
ALSO, is treating it with copper fungicide too toxic? If the copper is in the soil, will it prevent lilies from growing next year?

Really need to know answer to these questions, because as I said I already have dusted the ground with the copper after I dug up the plants. Can I plant new bulbs in the same area after I did this?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Bordeaux mix - limed copper sulfate - is a long-time treatment for this problem and is considered quite safe as long as you don't overdo the application. Which is also the correct approach to any pesticide application :-) Copper is found quite naturally in the soil, is in fact an essential plant nutrient (although typically required in rather small concentrations) and does not harm plants or soil biology unless it is applied excessively.

Various lily growers will have info available on this problem and how to treat. I've linked you to one, which happens to be a local grower and a big online lily supplier.

Here is a link that might be useful: B&D lilies - botrytis info

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Thank you so much gardengal48 for the link! It was a great help. I'm sorry now that I dug up my bulbs. I am going to leave my crimson pixies alone except for treatment for the botrytis.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 4:25PM
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