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Thread: The Saga of the Satan Mold

  1. #1
    Raven01000's Avatar
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    The Saga of the Satan Mold

    I have been battling a particularly resilient type of white, cottony, almost spider-web like mold for a while now. I first got it when I received some gemmae and my first utric in the mail. I ended up potting these in some pots which had been on the back porch. There did not appear to be anything growing in or on the pots, so I rinsed them off and used them. I have since lost all the gemmae to the killer mold and had to throw the utric out. Before I did, it contaminated almost all the other utricularia I got thereafter (which are now living in quarantine in the kitchen).

    I thought I was in the clear...until a few weeks ago when I got my first heliamphora. I did everything I normally do, except I included a single strand of live sphagnum which had been in my sarracenia pot on the back porch. I had to bring the sarracenia in due to cold weather, and I didn't want the moss to die, so I put it with the Heliamphora. There was no visible mold on the moss or in the pot, so I had no way of knowing the nightmare which would ensue.

    A few weeks later I noticed the Satan mold had infiltrated my Heliamphora pot. I sprayed it with Green Light Neem II and a sulfur based fungicide. The problem is, the mold seems to live deep down in the media. The visible mold might die back for a while, but in a few days it would just come back up again.

    I was starting to really worry that it would infect the other nearby plants, so today I decided to declare war. I removed the heli and all the media. I noticed several little fibers in the media at the bottom of the pot. Then I sprayed down the empty pot with bleach and rinsed it thoroughly, and carefully rinsed off all the loose media from the heli's roots and sprayed it with fungicide. Then I got some new media and re-potted it. Hopefully I did not disturb the heli's roots too much...and hopefully no spores or traces of the mold survived. But then Satan is immortal after all.

    Which brings me to my point: if it comes back, is there some kind of heli-safe fungicide I can use which will permeate the entire pot? Also, does anyone have any idea what kind of mold this was? I'll try to get a picture when it grows back on the utrics.

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    mobile's Avatar
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    First of all, I am sorry to hear of the mold problems you are having. I had a similar incident last year with my Utricularia but it was a black mold. Unfortunately, I lost most of my Utricularia, despite using a Myclobutanil based systemic fungicide which is usually considered to be effective on carnivorous plants. I have had more luck with a systemic fungicide this year though on a Cephalotus that had mold on the pitchers and within the growing medium. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the fungicides you have in the USA but this might help:


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    Hi Raven -

    Sometimes I'll spray with a Neem Oil solution, then water the plant with it too. You may want to think about adding Trichoderma which may compete against the evil mold.

    Some folks in the NECPS have used Cinnamon which is a natural fungicide.

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    wicked good plants! Presto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildBill View Post
    Some folks in the NECPS have used Cinnamon which is a natural fungicide.
    If we spoke to the same person, apparently the key with using cinnamon as a fungicide is to make sure it truly is real (ceylon) cinnamon. Most of what you buy at a grocery store is cassia, which is cheaper. You can get real cinnamon at fine spice stores...and online of course.

    A big benefit with cinnamon, of course, is that it's not toxic to us!
    -Emily

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Raven,
    By any chance did you take any pics?

    I received 'something' from 2 different growers, a month or so apart. For a while, I thought it was fungal but then switched to thinking that it is a filamentous algae (but I may be wrong).

    - After a month or two, my 'stuff' will burn itself out and no longer be visible (or at least obvious).
    - IPA on Q-tip dabbed on the stuff so the IPA saturates the webbing will also kill the visible manifestation (not meaning that the stuff is gone...).

    Using the IPA, I've been able to keep mine contained to a few pots as it doesn't spread unless one infinitesimally small fragment dislodges & drops into another pot.
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Try contacting your local USDA or State Agriculture Department and see if they will accept a soil sample to identify the suspected pathogen. Knowing which fungicide to use is more than half the battle.

    Note: The FAQs on one of the Trichoderma product websites says a common mistake is to apply the Trichoderma product when an active fungal infection is present. In other words Trichoderma should be used as a prophylactic or preventative rather than a cure.
    Last edited by Not a Number; 01-07-2011 at 08:49 PM.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Raven01000's Avatar
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    WildBill: I had never heard about Trichoderma until today. It sounds intriguing--I'll have to do some research and check out what Not a Number said, but at the very least it would probably be a good preventative for the future.

    Presto: I had already tried the cinnamon too. It worked surprisingly well, but like all the other treatments it could not reach the mold that was deep down in the pot. Although I didn't realize there was more than one kind of cinnamon--mine doesn't say what it is on the bottle, so maybe its the cheap stuff?

    RL7836: I did not think to take any pics--whenever I saw it the only thing I wanted to do was KILL it. But I will watch the utrics, and if it manifests itself in the future I will take some pictures. Do you have any pictures of what your stuff looks like? Maybe if I saw it I could at least tell if we have the same thing.

    Not a Number: If it survived today's heli purge I will try to contact them. I would certainly like to know exactly what it is I'm up against. Thank you for the Trichoderma warning as well.

    ---------- Post added at 11:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:56 PM ----------

    mobile: Thank you for sharing that video. It was interesting and had a lot of good information. Maybe I'll have to try a different sulfur based fungicide like the one they use.

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    Didnt we completely debunk the cinnamon myth several years ago?
    im pretty sure we did..
    I dont remember the specific details, All I know is that I now have it in my head that: "its a myth that cinnamon works as a fungicide..we hashed it out on the CP forum and someone posted a study or something that refuted it once and for all.."
    some actual scientific study/experiment from hard-core Orchid growers or something like that?
    anyone remember that?

    Scot

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