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Stunted, wilting and dying plants.

Posted by stpaulite z4 MN (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 30, 08 at 9:08

Is anyone else seeing these problems? Earlier in the year, I had several stunted, deformed plants--Purple Coneflower, White Swan and Baby Swan Coneflowers, and Butterfly Weed--which I dug up and destroyed. Now my Early Sunrise Coreopsis and Blue Mirror Delphiniums are starting to yellow and wither. Any ideas what might be causing this? All of these are normally very hardy plants that grow well in my garden. I've been watering on a regular basis, so I don't think that's the problem. Am I dealing with a pest or a disease?

Thanks for your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Stunted, wilting and dying plants.

We had a particularly cold, wet spring. Even when the days began warming, we had some pretty cool nights. I think we may have acquired some pests that we normally don't see, at least not in the abundance we have this year.

The Northern Cricket, also known as the Mole Cricket. Has anyone ever even heard of it before?

I have the problem you are describing with my Daylilies. Their foliage began yellowing, then browning, then falling down dead very early in the season. And it has only gotten worse with time.

I noticed a strange looking bug on one of the flower stalks and looked it up in my bug book. It was a Mole Cricket, and the map showed that the entire State of Minnesota was potentially host to this cricket. It is brownish black and its rear end has a tail that looks like a pincher sort of thing. The front legs are large for a bug and are built for digging. My book says that they will burrow into the ground around a plant and will feet on bulbs, roots, and tubers. They will also climb plants, or jump up on them, and gnaw stalks.

I had already noticed that I had a lot of tiny cricket sort of things hopping around my flower garden. I think they were just that small because they were newly hatched because when I tried the remedy my book suggested, a much larger cricket came scurrying out - one large enough to clearly see all the physical characteristics my book described. My book said to mix hot pepper and mild soap in water and douse the plant. I don't know if they meant tobasco or cayenne, so I put some of both in. I also don't know if a mixture like that can burn a plant or if things like earthworms are bothered by it too. I can tell you that big cricket was mighty unhappy. It skittered and rolled around for a while and then dove into the dirt. I have no idea if this is a repellent or if it is lethal.

Also, because there is already so much damage to my daylilies I have no way of knowing if it is helping anything. I am going to do my best to get as much of the dead and dying foliage off, and then watch to see if the foliage just keeps browning and dying off at the same rate.

My daylilies have looked this bad very late in the fall as things start going dormant, but they began looking like this almost from the moment they appeared in the spring. I wish I could post a picture so you could see if this is the same kind of die-off you are experiencing. I have put the mixture on just one of my daylilies, the one where I saw the cricket up on the stalk, but I am going to do it to all of them. My flower garden is about 75 percent daylilies. Two of my hostas look just about as bad, so I may treat them too.

I would be interested to know if any Minnesota gardeners were aware of this cricket before and how they handled it.

I share your dismay. It is hard to watch our plants struggle like this. Carmellia


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RE: Stunted, wilting and dying plants.

Stunted and deformed coneflowers and coreopsis may well be the result of aster yellows. Aster yellows is a virus that attacks plants, primarily in the aster family, and is spread by insects. I have it particulary bad in my area, I never buy a coneflower or a big flowered coreopsis anymore because there is a good chance of loosing them. When you find a plant infected with the virus, it is important to get it out of your garden as soon as possible to prevent its spread. The plant will not recover. There is no way to protect against it other than to choose resistant plants and remove infected plants ASAP. This is a yucky problem to have, the following links may help you to further diagnose the problem. Helen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aster Yellows


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RE: Stunted, wilting and dying plants.

I don't see any wilting or dying per se, but many of my perennials seem stunted this year, and bud counts on most everything seem lower than normal, too.

I haven't seen any pests, so I attributed all of this to the crappy spring (or lack thereof...)

Linda


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RE: Stunted, wilting and dying plants.

Thanks for the information. I do think it was aster yellows to begin with, and I dug up and destroyed those plants. I'm just puzzled by the coreopsis and delphinium that are now withering and dying because they were fine until just recently. I'll probably dig up the coreopsis, but it kills me to get rid of the delphinium.

I haven't seen any cricket-like critters, so I'm not sure that's the problem.

Again, thanks for the help.


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RE: Stunted, wilting and dying plants.

You might find alot out by examining your plants with a magnifying glass...some of the critters that cause issues are so very small, but lethal none the less. I just tossed out two Million Bell plants that were fine-fine-fine-off color-damn near dead...and they were infested with tiny little sucking insects, I don't know the exact type. But the plants seemed to go from fine to kind of tan and then dried up and crunchy. That might not be it, but it is worth checking out. Helen.


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