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Root Rot

Posted by nwgatreasures (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 4, 08 at 16:27

Larry mentioned root rot in another post and I was wondering what the emergency procedure for this condition is.

In addition, what contributes to root rot so that we can prevent it from occuring in the first place?

Dora


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Root Rot

Dora, root rot occurs when plants are overwatered, potted in heavy soil or planted in containers without drainage.
A good number of people now use soil-less mixes, which I think prevents rot, or at least cuts down the chance of it from happening. This may answer your second question, so other than plants being properly watered, using well-draining soils or soil-less mixes, and potting in containers with drainage, I don't know of any other way to keep rot froom happening.
Someone on another forum once said they used Peroxide to 'cure' root rot. LOL..I have NEVER added Peroxide to soil and unless I knew someone personally or deemed knowledgeable, or read from a reputable article/book would I attempt using it..Just thought I'd mention in passing.

IMO, watering plants at night could cause rot, especially if nights are cold and remained cold for long periods.
Perhaps someone has a better answer. Toni


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RE: Root Rot

Hi Dora,

Root rot is usually caused by a soil that is not porous enough. That is why many people use a soilless mixture of a 1:1:1 ratio of milled sphagnum , vermiculite and perlite. Too much sphagnum and the soil will be too dense. So just because its soilless doesn't make it porous. Another thing that will cause root rot is stress. Improper watering and long periods of drought followed by improper watering can cause root rot. I have also had trouble with root rot when the temperatures get too high for African violets. I had a summer where my African violets were in temperatures above 90for long periods of time. I had a devil of a time with root rot even though I had good watering techniques and good potting medium. Again it's the stress that did it.

There is a FAQ at the beginning at the top of the page of the garden web African violet forum. Here it is a link to the one about Root Rot.

I hope this helps.

Larry

PS - Sorry Toni, watering at night does not cause root rot.


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RE: Root Rot

Thanks.
I read through the FAQ stuff a few weeks ago and was wondering if there was something else that someone might want to add.

I have a sick looking Pride of Columbus. I've had 2 other to not make it but they were very tiny plants that were redone at a meeting and then bagged.

I'm pretty confident in my soiless mixture.

If you have one that you think may be suffering from that - is there an emergency treatment that you can do to help save it? Is that treatment as simple as getting all the bad soil from around the roots and potting it again for a 2nd chance?

Dora


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RE: Root Rot

Dora,

Root rot is exactly that, so removing 'bad soil' doesn't solve the problem. The rot process starts with the fine hair roots, and works its way up the root system to the stem, and sometimes the crown of the plant may simply fall off.
Here is what I do if I suspect root rot. I take the plant out of the pot and remove enough soil to be able to see the roots. If there is root rot, the fine white roots are gone, and depending on how far it is advanced, the 'stem' may be involved. There may be some mushy brown rotted areas on the stem, starting at the bottom.
To save the plant, all traces of rotted tissue need to be removed by cutting the stem until you have good rot free tissue with no brown mushiness. Remove the bottom leaves leaving about 4-6 on the crown, scrape the stem to remove old leaf callouses and help new roots form and then plant the stem in new potting mix. Bag it and wait for about 2-3 weeks for new roots to form. . If there isn't much of a stem left, removing leaves from the bottom can sometimes get you a nub to work with. If there isn't enough to pot, crisp up the leaves by soaking in warm water, and put the leaves down.

You can suspect root rot if you have a plant that is sarting to wilt, and watering doesn't perk it up.

Barbara


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RE: Root Rot

I'm pretty sure that is what happened to my Pride of Columbus.

I opened up all the dirt and took a look around at the roots....interesting :(

The surface soil is very loose/pourous but the bottom of the soil is nasty. This is a lesson to be careful about how plants that come from other people are done.

I did a bit of surgery on the plant. I don't see rot going up in the stem so perhaps I have been able to save the plant. I guess I'll know if things keep going the way they have been or turn around.

Dora


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RE: Root Rot

When you have plants there will come a time for this or that reason to need to cut off the top of the plant and re-root it. As long as the soil is not too moist in the bag, it should be fine if you got all the bad rot off the stem. They just need damp to root again.

It had different growing conditions that changed when you got the plant. Probably had not been repotted like it should have been. Also some plants come from places where they are growing in the peat and it is hard to get all that peat off when repotting with good soil and it tends to do just what you said, get rotten and icky.

I hope you can save it. It's great when you've done something like that and it works. Root a leaf too if there is one to spare.

tish


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RE: Root Rot

Hi Dora,

Although others have pretty much said the same thing, no there is no quick fix for root rot. You pretty much have to do what is said in the FAQ. And do it fast! I have seen a plant succumb to root rot in a week. At that point you hope you have leaves to start a new one.

Larry


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RE: Root Rot

The plant is dead.

Good lesson on soil and making sure new children (no matter where they come from or how old they are when they arrive) get a good and proper "adoption ceremony" to facilitate their future growth and wellness.

Dora

I've got a close AV friend who has 3 Cheers and she's going to give me one of hers so all in not lost...just a great lesson.


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RE: Root Rot

Hi Dora,

I'm sorry you lost your plant. Unfortunately losing plants is part of the hobby and the learning process. And don't feel bad, even us old timers lose a violet now and then. How fortunate you are to have a friend who has a replacement for you!

Larry


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RE: Root Rot

I'm not bummed out at all.

Every single plant that I have has been given to me or brought home from our monthly meetings. I am not bummed at all about the loss of Cheers.

I have $75 invested in this hobby so far (with the plant stand and some tools/supplies) but the pleasure and delight has FAR exceeded any monetary or time investment.

To me - that's what makes a hobby worthwhile.

One question I do have is this...is it possible for the plant to still be alive if the foliage (above the dirt level) is shriveled/limp/dead and right below the surface there is 'green flesh"? I hope that makes sense.

I took another look at it this afternoon when I could give it my full attention and there is green flesh right below the surface of where the leaves meet the stem. I washed away all of the gunky dirt that was clumped around the root and when I touched it, it broke off and I saw green flesh. I changed potting medium to my stuff that I've been using and bagged it in hopes of bringing it back to life. It is green all the way up to the base of the crown but once the leaves begin - they are mush.

Will life come out of this nub without leaves or is this really a case of trash it and move on?
Dora


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RE: Root Rot

It is possible it could start a sucker, but not likely. Once the leaves are gone or the roots are gone, it's done. Just keep it around a while longer and see what happens. Every now and then there is a nice surprise that wasn't expected. Next time you suspect rot, you have to pretty much cut the crown off the stem and try and re-root it, roots should look white/clearish and fresh, if they were brown they are dead or dying and should be removed. Maybe someone you know has a trailer violet that they can give you cuttings so you can practice getting them to root.

When I get a plant from someone,it goes on a shelf in a different room from my plants, I check it over for anything obvious, take it from the pot and look for soil mealies and what soil it is growing in and then I let it sit and get used to my house for a week or so. After a week or week and a half, I repot and add marathon just in case (cause I don't want to go thru soil mealies again). But it stays away from the other plants for 2 months, sometimes longer depending on this and that.

Good luck with your new hobby!

tish


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RE: Root Rot

Will life come out of this nub without leaves or is this really a case of trash it and move on?

It's not going to do anything. Just trash it and move on.

Larry


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RE: Root Rot

Ok, Larry b. (and others)

On the 7th or 9th, I sat the root rump over to the side with the expectation that I'd get to throwing it away. I didn't do it at the time because I wanted to update my excel spreadsheet with the plant information and knew if I threw the cup away, I woudn't be able to remember jack about which one it was. I even mixed the names up in this thread near the beginning.

The other day, I was cleaning off the plant stand and came upon the rump. Look what I found:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I honestly can't tell if it is green mold growing like a crown or if it is actually a new crown coming off the plant. I know time will tell but I still wanted to share.

Dora


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