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Preventative for sarr rhizome rot?

mikefallen13

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Hello,
The title say it's all, I'm seeking info about any preventative measures I can take to protect my remaining sarrs from rhizome rot. Recently I've had a pretty bad outbreak which has claimed my favorite purpurea among others and I really don't want to lose anything else. So can anybody help me with this?
 
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Well live sphagnum has anti fungal properties so a top dressing of that might help. If it is possible I would also avoid sitting pots in water. Rot usually comes from too much wetness and a lack of airflow so upping airflow and decreasing water would probably help. Other than that there is the obvious option of using fungicide as a preventative measure.
 

DJ57

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Rhizome rot can be a result of improper growing conditions, soil kept too wet with not enough soil aeration and/or air flow around the plants, and the best prevention is providing proper growing conditions. For sarracenia grown outside a soil mix such as 50/50 peat/perlite or peat/sand mix will provide the right amount of soil aeration; set pots in a tray of distilled, rain, or RO water no more than half way up the pot (I keep mine between one quarter and half way up the pot); provide at least 6 hours of sunlight during the day. Also, peat breaks down over time and gets anaerobic so re-potting into fresh soil every few years is a good idea to prevent rot and die off due to bad soil.

If you are growing your sarracenia in a greenhouse, you may need to amend your soil mix so it is more airy (more peat or sand in the mix) and less water in the tray due to the higher humidity and less airflow of greenhouse conditions.

I would caution against not leaving your sarracenia pots sitting in water at all times as they need consistent wet conditions to stay healthy. Also, a top dressing of sphagnum moss could lead to crown rot if the moss stays constantly wet, especially in conditions with not enough airflow.
 
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Rhizome rot can be a result of improper growing conditions, soil kept too wet with not enough soil aeration and/or air flow around the plants, and the best prevention is providing proper growing conditions. For sarracenia grown outside a soil mix such as 50/50 peat/perlite or peat/sand mix will provide the right amount of soil aeration; set pots in a tray of distilled, rain, or RO water no more than half way up the pot (I keep mine between one quarter and half way up the pot); provide at least 6 hours of sunlight during the day. Also, peat breaks down over time and gets anaerobic so re-potting into fresh soil every few years is a good idea to prevent rot and die off due to bad soil.

If you are growing your sarracenia in a greenhouse, you may need to amend your soil mix so it is more airy (more peat or sand in the mix) and less water in the tray due to the higher humidity and less airflow of greenhouse conditions.

I would caution against not leaving your sarracenia pots sitting in water at all times as they need consistent wet conditions to stay healthy. Also, a top dressing of sphagnum moss could lead to crown rot if the moss stays constantly wet, especially in conditions with not enough airflow.

When I use live sphagnum I simply replace what would be peat the live sphag. The peat is wet too so I don't think it would encourage rot. And regarding not sitting in water, I've been doing this method for years and my plants look great. Just don't let the media dry out!
 

mikefallen13

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Thanks for the replies!

Unfortunately my plants are currently in an in-ground bog so repotting will be a huge hassle. It's been 2.5 years since I set up the bog (though sarrs were only added last spring) so maybe the media has broken down and gone anaerobic. I did notice a 'funky' smell coming from the media but I didn't think anything of it.

Honestly, I was going to move them into pots this fall anyways since I'm worried about the possibility of extended deep freeze killing them (gotta love that PA weather) but I was going to wait until late fall to do this. Maybe I'll begin moving them into pots sooner than I expected.

Oh boy, just got done repotting the entire orchid collection and now it looks like I get to do even more repotting. Great...

Edit: Also, so you think I should spray the plants with some sort of fungicide when I repot them? If so does anyone have a preferred brand?
 
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In-ground bogs don't generally have as much of a problem with media breakdown as potted plants do. I know someone who hasn't touched his bog soil in 15 years and has had no issues.
 
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As DJ57 alluded to the biggest issue with in ground bogs and rot, i find, during the growing season is lack of oxygen at the roots for long periods. Can you control your water levels?
Cheers
Steve
 

mikefallen13

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Okay, so I started to do a little digging and the media is indeed very broken down and smells horrible! I'm going to begin the repotting process tomorrow, this time using perlite instead of sand because I think it will provide a more slightly more airy mix compared to the peat/sand mix I was using before. I was able to find some nice 7" semi-decorative pots for $1 a piece at a local store which should work great for the plants.

I'm now pretty sure the main reason the media broke down and caused rot issues has to do with the depth of the bog. I honestly didn't even consider it at first but after doing more reading about bog gardens it seems it generally recommended the bog should be at least 2' deep with drainage a few inches below the surface to help keep the top layer of media most but not wet. My bog is 14" at its deepest due to a layer of rocks I encountered when digging with only a few drain holes at the front to prevent flooding, so it's been holding a ton of water through the whole media and the peat decomposed more quickly than it normally would. I guess I should have done more reading when I set up the thing in the first place! My bad.

Honestly though, I will actually feel better when the plants are in pots that I can move inside if the weather gets bad this winter and it will make repotting/dividing much easier going forward. Thanks for the tips guys! Hopefully the plants will do better now.
 

DJ57

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Okay, so I started to do a little digging and the media is indeed very broken down and smells horrible! I'm going to begin the repotting process tomorrow, this time using perlite instead of sand because I think it will provide a more slightly more airy mix compared to the peat/sand mix I was using before. I was able to find some nice 7" semi-decorative pots for $1 a piece at a local store which should work great for the plants.

I'm now pretty sure the main reason the media broke down and caused rot issues has to do with the depth of the bog. I honestly didn't even consider it at first but after doing more reading about bog gardens it seems it generally recommended the bog should be at least 2' deep with drainage a few inches below the surface to help keep the top layer of media most but not wet. My bog is 14" at its deepest due to a layer of rocks I encountered when digging with only a few drain holes at the front to prevent flooding, so it's been holding a ton of water through the whole media and the peat decomposed more quickly than it normally would. I guess I should have done more reading when I set up the thing in the first place! My bad.

Honestly though, I will actually feel better when the plants are in pots that I can move inside if the weather gets bad this winter and it will make repotting/dividing much easier going forward. Thanks for the tips guys! Hopefully the plants will do better now.

:bigthumpup: You are now on the right path, keep up the research. The way a bog is built makes a big difference in how fast soil breakdown occurs. I got about 4-5 years out of my first bog when soil breakdown occurred. My bog is 18" to 24" inches deep but did hold too much water at the bottom during the rainy season. When I re-soiled it last year I added more drainage, but now have to water it more often...trade offs. A bog that constantly circulates water through it instead of holding it in would be ideal if I had the means/know-how to create one. Yes, being able to move pots around is one major advantage over a bog, among other things such as easier to take good photos of individual plants.
 
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The 2' deep isn't a necessity although the deeper it is the better for water retention, but bad for going anaerobic, producing CO2 and displacing the oxygen in the bog at root level. If you can build in a drain system (even as simple as a cork in the liner) that gives you the options of varying the water levels and preventing the problems before they start.
Cheers
Steve
 

mikefallen13

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Due to nasty weather, I'm going to have to wait one more day before I start digging but it's given me a little more time to think about what I'm going to do once the plants are out. As it seems the pond liner I used is still in good shape and it would be shame to throw it out, I'm thinking I will still use the hole for the plants but instead of being filled with peat, I'll fill the bottom with a couple inches of water and sit the pots in it. I also have a ton of extra aquarium powerheads and pumps so I'll rig something up to help circulate water. Maybe I can finally put my Drosera regia outside too, as it seemed to readily overheat with no moving water around its roots.

I'll get some pics of the project when it's finished. Thanks again for the advice guys!
 

DJ57

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Yeah, I considered having a separate reservoir of water with a pump to circulate water around large pots set in the “bog” when I redid it last year, sort of like I did with the Darlingtonia setup I had in the pond that worked well until the raccoons discovered it. Maybe have sphagnum moss growing on top of the pots, making it look more natural (can’t tell the plants are in pots). I still might do something like that when this bog reaches the end of its life.

Would love to see pics of your setup as you build it, can never stop learning from other people’s ideas/experiences.

I successfully grew a regia outside planted in the bog for a couple years, but killed it when I decided to move it to another location in the bog (dang those things have long roots!). The mass of the bog kept it from overheating in summer and roots from freezing in our PNW winters. I can grow D. capensis outside year round in the bog as well for the same reasons. They die back in winter but sprout back from the roots in spring as the regia did.
 

mikefallen13

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Yeah, I considered having a separate reservoir of water with a pump to circulate water around large pots set in the “bog” when I redid it last year, sort of like I did with the Darlingtonia setup I had in the pond that worked well until the raccoons discovered it. Maybe have sphagnum moss growing on top of the pots, making it look more natural (can’t tell the plants are in pots). I still might do something like that when this bog reaches the end of its life.

Would love to see pics of your setup as you build it, can never stop learning from other people’s ideas/experiences.

I successfully grew a regia outside planted in the bog for a couple years, but killed it when I decided to move it to another location in the bog (dang those things have long roots!). The mass of the bog kept it from overheating in summer and roots from freezing in our PNW winters. I can grow D. capensis outside year round in the bog as well for the same reasons. They die back in winter but sprout back from the roots in spring as the regia did.

I was actually thinking about what I could do to hide the pots. I'm going to see if I can find any more live sphagnum but I also remembered a plant called parrot's feather ( Plants for Ponds & Water Gardens: Parrot's Feather Floating Pond Plant ) that I had in a pond a while back that would also work. It scrambles across shallow water and looks really nice, I'm pretty sure my local aquarium store has it so I'll give it a try as well.

I'm still not 100% sure why my regia had so much trouble outside, but I did have it in a black plastic pot which is why I'm thinking overheating was the cause. It's now in a unglazed terra cotta pot with a live sphagnum top dressing which should help with that issue, especially with circulating water.

Luckily, since I moved to PA I haven't had any raccoon issues, but they were a huge PITA when I lived in NC. I still remember when they'd rip my CP's and orchids out of their pots, I definitely don't miss them!

I'll be sure to get some pics!
 

gill_za

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I am not sure if someone mentioned or not, but consider inoculating the soil with a mix of Trichoderma Atroviride from AmPac Biotech and Trichoderma + other Beneficial bacteria found in Great White - Premium Mycorrhizae product. Mix both into water and water with the mix ones every few weeks.
 

DJ57

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Mikefallen13: Ah, Parrots Feather is nice. I have lots of it growing in a couple water barrels and the pond, stuff will grow almost anywhere with a little water and all you need to start with is one piece and it quickly spreads and takes over. It does help with water quality and aeration in the pond. I am not sure but it may root into the top soil of the pots as the moisture may cause the strands to send out roots to dig in, which may cause issues but not sure. Their roots can get quite extensive floating in water but don't know how they act in wet soil. They do look really nice in water features and I like them.
 
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