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Preventing botrytis

Posted by alexh CA (My Page) on
Tue, May 8, 07 at 16:37


I think one of my Japanese Tree peonies contracted botrytis . I also grow Tuberous begonias and they almost always get botrytis near the end of the season although in the case of begonias it's usually more a case of mechanical abrasion which allows the fungus a foothold and it does not generally kill the tuber. As I understand it Peonies have their own form of botrytis.

So I did a little research and beyond the obvious means of control which include sanitation issues and removal of infected parts this is what I found/noted -

1. My peonies are in a mixed bed and I have been using a composted mulch that is mostly wood chips. I noticed that when I see pictures of peonies in my various books and some of the members here that the ground around the peonies looks barren. When I say barren, I mean crusty, dry soil with no visible organic matter at all. I suspect this is no accident.

2. Avoid the use of overhead watering systems.

3. Use a compost tea which strengthens the plant immune system.

4. Use of fungicides. I have seen many brand names mentioned. Of course this will not cure an existing problem but can be part of a preventative program. If any one can suggest something that's easy to get a hold of that would be great.

5. Rootshield - This is apparantly getting rave reviews. It is mostly intended to applied during watering but apparently it does have a systemic effect. It's fairly cheap at about $17. I have seen conflicting reports as to it's effectiveness on botrytis.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Preventing botrytis

I had the problem last year on one of my herbaceous peonies. Last fall I dug out the most affected peony I got several divisions from it. I removed the foliage from all the other peonies and sprayed them well with a Bordeaux mixture. I also sprayed well the divided and potted one. This year I have seen no sign of botrytis. I compost my peonies with my own compost, but I never put it ON the plant only AROUND the plant. Al

RE: Preventing botrytis

I had the same problem with one of my peonies last year. To keep it from spreading what I did was immediately cut the entire plant to the ground, removed the debris compeletly. I had to sacrafice this peony because all other measures failed. My other peony which was only about 3 feet away did just fine. Your right no overhead watering and plenty of full sun with good air circulation. However I have used wood chips every year. I replenish the chips every year. No problem with the diseased peony this year. It's growing well and full of blooms.

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