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Thread: Trying to combat root rot and failing :(

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    fly-catchers's Avatar
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    Trying to combat root rot and failing :(

    For a few years now I have been losing neps quite regulary where the roots on examining are very wirey black and dead. And often the dieback extends into the base of the plant. Healthy nep roots I find are black, thicker with micro hairs on them and white caps to the ends.
    I keep losing plants to this mainly during the summer.
    A recent victim is my eddy



    Here is a photo taken a few days ago. Although it looks quite good I can see some bad signs (I am becoming an expert in noticing them nowadays!). There is wrinkles on some leaves, the newer pitcher lid closed soon after opening and the overall growth stopped about a month or so back. I unpotted it today and sure enough the roots are intact but dead and there is some rot in the lower section of the thin and short stem.I have removed all this and now bagged it up in fresh compost. But am not hopeful long term. Actually this is the fourth time I have repotted this poor plant since getting it and the second of turning it into a cutting. Since the last time cut up in april 2013 it has finally put some better growth. But its back to square one.

    I use either live or dry sphagnum moss with either orchid bark or clay pellets in the mix and have been using this type of mix for about 24 years now!
    Until about 2012 I have fairly few losses and most were early in the life of the plant. But these deaths have increased in the last year or so. I use a mix of clean fresh rain water and RO water. And keep my plants in three greenhouses and tanks. But have losses from all areas. Mainly my oldest rarest plants of course!
    I have tried Trichoderma over a fair few years with no sign of benefit for this issue. Any ideas- apart from giving up the hobby!

    Currently its depressing and expensive.

    cheers

    bill
    Last edited by fly-catchers; 07-27-2014 at 12:50 PM.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    I would start thinking in terms of pathogens, since you are no novice by any stretch of the imagination (and therefor not likely making novice cultivation errors). Do you use fungicides at all? Perhaps the manufacturing of the clay pellets has changed since you started using them and they are leaching something? Just throwing out ideas here....its odd that this is a recurring problem - sometimes on the same plant.

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    I've had similar problems, almost always in the summer months. You might try to sterilize everything and consider using different products for your media. I've heard some horror stories about orchid bark, usually from growers in the UK, which makes me think the products sold over there have some kind of tendency towards pathogen growth.

    This is pretty basic advice, but allowing your pots to dry out quite a bit and not allowing certain species to reach a certain temperature is probably a good idea. I grow a few types of Vireya Rhododendrons, and whenever temperatures hit about 86 or so, some of them seem to get taken over with some kind of deadly pathogen. The nursery owner who specializes in these says it's extremely common, and one of the only ways around it is to keep the pots very dry. These plants grow with Nepenthes in the wild, so perhaps it's the same issue?
    Last edited by mato; 07-27-2014 at 01:16 PM.

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    fly-catchers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    I would start thinking in terms of pathogens, since you are no novice by any stretch of the imagination (and therefor not likely making novice cultivation errors). Do you use fungicides at all? Perhaps the manufacturing of the clay pellets has changed since you started using them and they are leaching something? Just throwing out ideas here....its odd that this is a recurring problem - sometimes on the same plant.
    Yes I am seriously thinking pathogens. Over here all the fungicides have been watered down so much they barely cope with powdery mildew! However I have unearthed an old packet of Benlate which while I am sure it is no longer affective have dunked the eddy into it for 30 minutes prior to potting up. If I had found this chemical earlier I might have tried it earlier. But only one dose was left in the box. And I suppose it might even do more harm than good now! But there is nothing else out there I can try. The clay pellets are again from my original sack I brought way back. But have been using orchid bark more these days. I do try to allow my compost to dry out almost between watering. My collection is a lot bigger and spread over more areas than when I first began 27 years ago. And don't get as much attention due to work. But don't neglect my favorites which are mainly the ones I am losing. My fuel bill has rocketed these last few years as I give them a bit more heat to keep them happier over the winter. And them lose them in the summer!

    The eddy was tiny was wistuba and has had its fair share of setbacks. But since last year was responding well. I got a micro tiny AW villosa last year to replace my 14 year old monster that started the dieback trend in 2012. But after settling in and putting a small amount of growth it started to get smaller again in spring and on investgation found everything black below soil level. Nothing to rescue. That plant was growing in my tank indoors with lights to keep it happy in the winter. I would love to think it was something I was doing wrong so I could correct it and care on enjoying growing these amazing plants!

    bill

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Bill, do you not have access to more modern fungicides, like propiconazole?

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    fly-catchers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    Bill, do you not have access to more modern fungicides, like propiconazole?
    No. In the UK and I expect the EU as well there is no fungicides for amateur use that is effective. Only commercial growers can lay their hands on stronger stuff. And getting hold of that stuff is not easy- I have tried!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mato View Post
    I've heard some horror stories about orchid bark, usually from growers in the UK, which makes me think the products sold over there have some kind of tendency towards pathogen growth.
    I too have heard those accounts; have also had some bad experiences with orchid barks in the past, and no longer use the product. I have managed to culture a number of fungal pathogens from supposedly sterile batches within ten days or so.

    In terms of using Trichoderma, which I still recommend, twelve to twenty four hour soaks, prior to planting, have proved beneficial . . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    *considering not using orchid bark anymore after horror stories*
    Come to me flies and crawling bugs. This plant wants to give you great big hugs
    Aren't I pretty, don't I smell good? I'd come to you if I could
    But I can't so you must come to me, I'm sure we will get along splendidly

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