Dead, Dead, Dead

tomt226March 29, 2014

Today I dug up the four Ghosts that I tried to overwinter in a hoop-house, and they wuz DEAD!
No unusual root pathology, just dead. We probably had some periods in the '20s that lasted 36 hours or so, and low 30's longer than that, so now I know that they won't overwinter here.
Tilled up the bed and got it ready for just two this year. Four is too many. I'm gonna encourage a better root system on the others by using a drip emitter that gives a larger radius under the plant than the point irrigation does.

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esox07

Are you sure that was dead? It could have just gone dormant and not woke up yet. Those roots look pretty good in the photo. If the plant was exposed to the 20's for extended periods of time, then it likely is dead. But a lot of times, if the soil stays warm enough, the top will die off but come warmer weather, they stub will throw out new growth even though the plant looks deader than a nail.
Good luck with the plants this year.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:29PM
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tomt226

No, I dissected one complete plant, and there was no green within any of the structure. Even the deepest roots were completely dead.
This species exhibits a very shallow root system, unlike native Tepins and Pequins. The Numex Suaves even have a more robust system also.
Think I'm gonna piddle around with grafting some Ghost onto Tepin rootstock and see what happens...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 6:25AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Ghost roots aren't particularly shallow, per se. Likely there was something in the bed they didn't like.

Dennis

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 12:41AM
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tomt226

DMForcier,
Well, if they didn't like it, it damn sure didn't show in the growth and production.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:25AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

> "This species exhibits a very shallow root system"

Not that I've observed. Perhaps yours are finding enough in the top inches that they don't need to go deep.

The alternative is that the soil in the tilled layer is holding a water table above the sub-layer that is causing root death to anything that deep.

Dennis

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:31PM
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tomt226

Interesting, but I don't think so. Sandy loam down to about 30", then alluvial cobbles of varying caliper, then hard-pan clay. Used to have 'maters in that bed before I had the nematode problem, and they all drove roots to at least 2'. I'm thinking that with the 4" of mulch that the root mat found sufficient nutrition and moisture to 1', and limited it's growth. They were grown in morning sun and afternoon shade. Now a plant in full sun with no mulch may exhibit a different root depth, and I'll find that out next winter when I dig some others up planted in a different micro-clime.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:20PM
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