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Crown Rot – attacks the roots and, most notably, the crown

Crown Rot is caused by the Phytophthora fungus, which attacks the roots and, most notably, the crown. In almost all cases, Crown Rot is fatal. The best control for Crown Rot is, therefore, prevention.

In most plants experiencing crown rot there are two distinguishing symptoms:

  • 1- The crown is mushy
  • 2- The crown darkens
  • Other notable symptoms include:
  • 1- Leaves might have a web like substance on them
  • 2- Leaves may darken
  • 3- Leaves may wilt permanently
  • 4- Crown may have a web like substance on it (not to be confused with spider mites or leaf mealy bugs).
  • 5- The plant is slow in growth

The fungus can survive on and in seed and in soil. The fungus also produces thick-walled spores that can survive prolonged periods of adverse conditions. Contaminated seed and transplants, or are sources of primary infections. Irrigation water often disseminates fungal propagules from infested areas to other parts of the garden. The pathogen over winters in soil and plant and becomes active when soil temperatures approach 78° to 90° F.

Crown Rot   attacks the roots and, most notably, the crown

In most cases, crown rot is fatal. The best answer in a garden is to isolate the infected plant (s) and remove them. If you are attached to the particular plant you can move it to isolation and try to revive it by removing infected areas. Otherwise… throw away or destroy the plant (s).

Prevention is the best answer to crown rot. The following will help:

  • 1- Do not over water
  • 2- Don’t let the soil dry out completely before watering.
  • 3- Don’t use too small of a pot or container
  • 4- Pots or your garden need adequate drainage
  • 5- Maintain good air circulation (especially important indoors).
  • 6- Remove and destroy diseased plants

If you are experiencing any disease issues one of your best first steps is to consult a professional. This might include a lawn & garden center or in the USA for example you can call your local County Extension Agent or a Master Gardener for advice.