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Fuchsia and Oak Root Fungus

Posted by sesselsfca z10 San Fran.CA (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 16, 06 at 20:54

Those who live and garden in California, as I do, they should be aware that at least some species Fuchsias seem to be highly susceptible to Oak Root Fungus (Armillaria). Two years ago, this fungus finally destroyed some 30-year old trees (japanese Maple and crabapple) in my garden; this year, four fifteen-year old specimens of F. arborescens are succumbing to the same problem. All the tell-tale symptoms are there -- honey-coloured mushrooms after heavy rains, "fans" of white mycelial growth under the bark, and "shoe lace" black growths along the roots and up along the crowns.

As far as I can learn, there are no rememdies (i.e., fumigation, etc.) for this problem, and the fungus can live in the soil and in dead roots and stumps for many years. Good cultural practices, like careful irrigation, and ensuring that the areas around the bases of the plants are kept clear of debris, etc. are about all we can do, it seems.

I post this because I suspect that most California fuchsia growers have been, as I have been, overly focussed on control of the fuchsia gall mite, and may not have been sensitive to this issue. I am in the process of taking cuttings of all my in-ground fuchsias, with the intention of growing them on in containers. So far, none of the other species I grow (boliviana, procumbens, magellenica, and many hybrids) have shown signs of the problem, but I am taking no chances.

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