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List of garden plant diseases : Root rots

Phytophthora on lawson’s cypress

Phytophthora on lawson’s cypress

Several types of soil-living fungi attack the roots of a wide range of plants, causing the root system to rot. The plant above ground first stops growing, then leaves can go yellow and wilt, and total collapse eventually occurs.

Collapse from root rot is usually sudden and often occurs in mid-summer when the damaged root system proves inadequate to supply moisture needs, or in spring when the plant, having had its root system killed during the wet season, fails to commence growth.

Commonly affected plants include house plants, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, lawson’s cypress, strawberries, heathers, rhododendrons, pieris and japanese maples. When seedlings die of root rot, it is called damping-off.

A range of related fungus species are involved, such as phythophthora and pythium. Root rot fungi are moisture-lovers that thrive in conditions of water-logging outdoors, and over-watering indoors. Use clean trays, compost and water when raising plants from seed.

Cheshunt Compound can be used to stop damping-off moving across a tray of seedlings. Outdoors, drainage should be improved. Affected plants should be disposed of.


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