Brugmansias forum: What is wrong with this Brugmansia?

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Sep 28, 2014 7:34 AM CST
I have several Brugmansia in plastic bins around my backyard. This one I've had the longest. Several years, but has only been in the plastic bin for about a year. I had tried growing them in the ground, but the root knot nematodes attacked them. I had to take cuttings to save them.

This is one of my favorite brugs. No name, tag lost years ago. It blooms the best of any of my brugs. I started noticing this problem over the summer. I thought it might have been caused by mulch up against the trunk, so I moved the leaf mulch away. Now I am seeing more disease or fungus growing further up the trunk which is not touched by anything. What is wrong with this brug and what can I do? Is the whole tree diseased or can I just cut it and re-root it and replant it like I did in the past?

Whole tree view:

Thumb of 2014-09-28/beckygardener/355fd9

Upper trunk wound:

Thumb of 2014-09-28/beckygardener/d963d9

Trunk wound near base of tree:

Thumb of 2014-09-28/beckygardener/b16cd2

Thanks in advance for any help with my dilemma! Thank You!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 28, 2014 12:45 PM CST
Becky, if misery loves company, we can help each other. I have the same situation with my big 7ft. Charles Grimaldi plant that is in my pool cage. It's been in the same pot for @ 4 years and I noticed it declining about a month ago. I just assumed it's an old plant and has developed some sort of trunk rot. Luckily for me, there are two other strong stems growing from the base of this one, so when the main trunk fails I have new growth to replace it.

Once the weather is cooler I'm going to tackle re-potting it with fresh soil to get rid of whatever fungi are in the soil now. We had such a hot, dry July then wetter August and wetter still this month until this last week has just been a deluge every day. I have all sorts of fungi sprouting, attacking my orchids, growing on pots and in the garden. The orchids I am treating with both a systemic and a spray fungicide, but the brugs grow back so fast, I really don't feel the need to save them.

If I did, my "go to" is the Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 which is fungicide, insecticide and miticide all in one. You mix it up as a douse and water the plant with it. Physan is the spray fungicide I use to clean the pool cage and pavers of fungus and algae. I hate using chemicals at all but this time of year it's necessary.
Thumb of 2014-09-28/dyzzypyxxy/f50d0c

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Sep 28, 2014 5:54 PM CST
Elaine - Thank you for your advice. Yup, my Brug's trunk rot looks like yours. I've never had that happen on any plants. There is no new growth coming from the ground, which is why I am worried. I love this small tree. It has perfect single pink blooms and it is just my favorite brug. I wonder if I should take some stem cuttings to root (just in case). I checked all my other brugs and I am not seeing this issue. Also, I do treat my container brugs with Bayer 3 in 1 due to moth caterpillars and various diseases. I will try treating them all again. I noticed the leaves are getting chewed up again on many of them so that tells me the Bayer has worn off. It is the only plant species that I treat with a systematic. I don't treat the rest of my plants because the butterflies, bees, and hummers use the blooms. I did see bees using the Brug blooms but after treating them, I think it may have killed them as I stopped seeing bees. Sad to say, but I don't know what else to do. I hate using pesticides for that reason. I tried to treat it early on during Winter while the bees were dormant, but the systematic lasts a long time.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 28, 2014 6:58 PM CST
Hm that's curious to see bees on your brug blooms, Becky. They are pollinated in their native areas by night-flying moths. That's why the fragrance is only present at night.

Here's something else that's a bit odd about the trunk rot situation. On both yours and mine it is a big, old trunk that has split and developed the rusty growth. Yet, in the same pot as the rotten trunk on mine are two smaller, but still fairly large newer stems. No signs of splitting or rusty spots at all. They look perfectly normal. If it were a fungal disease, you'd think all the stems would be infected.

I wonder if it's a situation that happens to old trunks in hot, humid and then very wet weather? In Hawaii they grow to be 20ft. specimen size trees. But it never gets as hot in Hawaii as it does here. Also did you see the pictures of the huge ones in Golden Gate Park? Again, never gets hot there. Hmm.

What I'm thinking is that the older trunks are harder than the young ones, and have split from sudden abundance of water. When they split, then the wounds are open to infection from the air by whatever's floating by.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rhapsody Hooks
Long Beach Ca USA (Zone 10a)
Cat Lover Winter Sowing Moon Gardener Plumerias Tropicals Roses
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Rhapsody616
Sep 28, 2014 10:14 PM CST
I have no clue. Would be nice if some of our brug elders would take a look'
Walk in Peace, Walk in Light, Blessed Be!
[Last edited by Rhapsody616 - Mar 21, 2015 2:24 AM (+)]
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Name: JT Sessions
Milton,Fl.
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gone2seed
Sep 29, 2014 8:41 AM CST

Moderator

Well,you won't like what I have to say. That looks like one of the forms of fusarium.If it is, the entire plant carries the infection. It is incurable and the entire plant,along with the bin and potting soil should be destroyed. It is also contagious so keep it well away from your other brugs until you can dispose of it. Google brugs + fusarium and read it and weep. Those of us who have grown brugs for a long time have all been there.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Sep 29, 2014 7:40 PM CST
I will admit ... the possibility of fusarium did cross my mind. I wonder how close is too close when it comes to spreading that virus/fungus?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Hibiscus Sempervivums Sedums Dragonflies
Herbs Roses Foliage Fan Annuals Cut Flowers Ferns
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orchidgal
Sep 29, 2014 9:18 PM CST
Just a thought, since you want to be careful about using a spray which could harm the butterflies and bees, what about using cinnamon? It has anti fungal properties and is used by orchid growers. I use it whenever I prune and cut. It certainly can't do any harm. Or maybe spraying the bad area with neem oil ?
“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen”
Eeyore
Name: Brenda
NE Georgia (Zone 8a)
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3left
Sep 30, 2014 10:57 AM CST
Elfie...........I actually add cinnamon to my seed-starting soil when I start my brug seeds for just that reason..............anti-fungal. And it smells good!!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 1, 2014 8:39 AM CST
Oh my, Fusarium. Thanks JT. Will give the plant the deep six accordingly. Luckily I have some smaller starts from it from the spring so I have not lost it altogether.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rhapsody Hooks
Long Beach Ca USA (Zone 10a)
Cat Lover Winter Sowing Moon Gardener Plumerias Tropicals Roses
Bee Lover Butterflies Region: California Cottage Gardener Herbs Composter
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Rhapsody616
Oct 7, 2014 2:12 AM CST
Well that sucks. What a shame.
Walk in Peace, Walk in Light, Blessed Be!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 11, 2014 5:42 PM CST
Ok. Maybe I am imagining things, but ....

I sprayed and soaked the trunk in both places where there was damage. I used straight 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. I drenched it and then did it again the next day. That was about a week ago. I looked at it today just on a whim and it actually looks like the wounds are healing up!

I will be watching this closely as I was not expecting that to happen. Perhaps whatever the issue, the H2O2 has somehow helped? I will be watching and keeping an eye on it to see what happens. I have used straight 3% H2O2 to save a clematis that developed root rot. I know many folks don't recommend this, but it has worked well for me in dire circumstances. It's my last ditch effort in many cases to save a plant. So .... shall see how this experiment develops.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Rhapsody Hooks
Long Beach Ca USA (Zone 10a)
Cat Lover Winter Sowing Moon Gardener Plumerias Tropicals Roses
Bee Lover Butterflies Region: California Cottage Gardener Herbs Composter
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Rhapsody616
Oct 12, 2014 4:07 AM CST
I love a good experiment. We will see if you have had a stroke of genius.
R
Walk in Peace, Walk in Light, Blessed Be!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 12, 2014 11:02 AM CST
Becky, I do hope it works, but I'm thinking you've probably just knocked back the localized infection in the wounds. The Fusarium is in the whole plant by now.

Mine have been slowly declining for a while now, and I'm pretty sure that's the reason. They don't all have open festering wounds like the Charles Grimaldi but the leaves are not as big as healthy plants have, and none of them are showing any new growth, nothing new all summer in fact.

Keep us posted, if the plants perk up and start growing big healthy new leaves that will be an indication that the infection is gone.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 12, 2014 7:26 PM CST
Elaine - Exactly. I am waiting to see if the plant starts putting on new stronger growth. This one plant seems to bloom far more than the rest of my Brugs. Do you suppose that is a plant's way to handle decline? Produce blooms in the quest to be pollinated to propagate by seeds?

I sure hope I don't lose this plant. It has my favorite blooms. Seeds wouldn't be infected with Fusarium, would they? If not, then I might try to hand-pollinate it with another brug and grow some from seeds in the hopes that the blooms stay similar.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden

mkb136
Oct 13, 2014 4:37 PM CST
To me brugs are not for ever they have a shelf live take cuttings and grow new one ditch the mother plant. I have 15 fters here grown by William the master there trunks are as big around as my top of my leg. Alot of growers once the mother plant looks ugly they root half doz. cuttings from below the y or you get a bush and start again. It will last maybe 5 yrs then its time again.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 13, 2014 7:29 PM CST
Interesting info, mkb136. Thank you! I thought they were long-lived plants.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Michael Hamilton
Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9b)
Region: Texas Hibiscus Plumerias Cactus and Succulents
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Blondmyk
Oct 14, 2014 10:50 AM CST
This is kind of depressing news to me too. I always thought that Brugs survived as long as they were taken care of. I mean, I know everything has a life span, but I figured more than 5 years on this. Heck...I have a Datura that's coming up on 4 years itself and is still a fairly viable container plant.

I just wanted to post that I'm sad for you. It looks like it was a beautiful Brug in it's time. Hope you get lots of cuttings from it and that you have a nice big replacement for it in no time. Best of Luck to you.

Blondmyk
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 14, 2014 11:26 AM CST
Well, I think that's not a hard and fast rule, they keep growing and blooming as long as they stay healthy. There's a picture somewhere on this forum of one in Golden Gate Park in SF that is probably 20 years old and 30ft tall. Still going strong. It really depends where you are and how much TLC you can give them.

Here in Florida, it's just really difficult to keep them healthy for any length of time especially growing in pots. As mkb said, much easier to have a nice healthy plant if you start new every 5 years or so. It's not like they're hard to start, or grow slowly. I've had a cutting from Monster White go from 8in. tall in spring to a 4ft x 4ft blooming bush by fall. I like them to be bushes and bloom sooner, so I take cuttings above the Y.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: JT Sessions
Milton,Fl.
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gone2seed
Oct 15, 2014 7:00 AM CST

Moderator

Brugs are long lived plants.I personally know of a couple over 20 years old.That said,I also take cuttings and toss mine after a few years. The plants tend to grow too large to handle after a few years and the young plants always seem to look better.

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