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what the heck

Posted by cbfindlay z6 OH (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 25, 10 at 21:35

What is going ON??? First, one tomatillo in a container with a few plants -- one other tomatillo, different variety, two sweet peppers, and basil seedlings -- succumbs in a day to some kind of wilt. No leaf curling, spots, just total plant collapse in a day. Thought it needed water one day, watered it, no change, the next day, the stem is brown near the bottom. I pull it out, the pith is all spongy and the outer stem brown. So, OK, I figure it's bacterial wilt, I pull the plant. So far everything else in the container is OK.
NExt day, I'm getting droopy leaves on my David Austin rose, just the newest growth. OK. It's hot, so I figure it's water again. Nope, water changes nothing, and a couple of the newer leaves crinkle up and die. Droop continues.
Tonight, I go out to check the droopy rose, and the coneflower NEXT to the rose is exhibiting serious droop -- only on the immature blooms! The rest of the plant looks fine, the leaves look healthy -- the stems at the top are just bent right over, almost in half, almost like the blooms are TRYING to face downward. I watered these again with little hope.
No sign of bugs except that white cottony residue on one stem -- one that's not drooping. No marks of any kind on the leaves of the coneflower OR the rose or on the stems of either. No herbicides that I know of have been sprayed in our yard and these plants aren't next to the neighbor's yard.

I remember having tomatoes damaged by Roundup (or maybe it was weed and feed)and exhibiting some wacky behavior -- the stems turned all around like the plant didn't know which way was up. Could this be the same thing? HOw far could these herbicides drift if some bone-headed neighbor applied them in the 90 degree heat yesterday?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: what the heck

What's your mulch situation? I'm asking because I've seen symptoms like this when a fresh, several inch layer of mulch has been applied. When that happens, the mulch receives the first many minutes of rainfall or irrigation, with zero water finding its way to the soil (and plants). It takes a substantial rain event for water to get though several inches of mulch.

RE: what the heck

You may have also watered too much. Root rot can cause the same blackening of the stem eventually and pretty sudden death.

RE: what the heck

That is absolutely right, cbfindlay. Same symptoms-different causes.

Are ALL of these plants in containers?

RE: what the heck

I'd also check the crown of the plants for any white threadlike growth. Southern blight is becoming quite popular in this area at this time of year, affecting several species of plants. I would rule out the above suggestions first. You would want your local Extension office to confirm.

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