Ask a Question forum: Rot following frost damage in hostas

Views: 499, Replies: 17 » Jump to the end
Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
Apr 23, 2016 5:31 AM CST
I must have 400 hostas in my garden.
Here in New England had a very early spring, followed by some very cold nights.
My hostas are rising, but some have suffered greatly.

I am now noticing that some pips are gooey, as in ROTTING. I am concerned.
Will the healthy leaves be vulnerable to this rot?
How about the crowns? I do NOT want rampant crown rot in my garden.
But there are too many hostas all over the place for me to crawl on hands and knees and test every pip for gooeyness and cut them out.
Is this what I have to do?

HELP!
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Hostas Container Gardener Hummingbirder Cat Lover Birds
Region: New York Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dog Lover Tropicals
Image
Christine
Apr 23, 2016 8:18 AM CST
The same thing has happened to mine that are in containers,I have only have 5 to worry about.I know hosta's are pretty tough, so I'm hoping for the best for both of us. Sighing!
Thumb of 2016-04-23/Christine/6e9e99
We had more snow in April than we did all winter !!

[Last edited by Christine - Apr 23, 2016 8:20 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1125438 (2)
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 23, 2016 9:38 AM CST
You can try pushing your finger down to a rhizome and testing for solidness. I suspect you will find them happy down there as New England has been growing hosta wild for 300 years and the weather hasn't killed them yet. Smiling

Daisy
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
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Apr 23, 2016 10:43 AM CST
Also it might help to gently rake away any leaves that have drifted around/piled up on the hostas.

This way the crowns will have better air circulation, giving a chance to dry out between waterings or rain, which will prevent the rot from spreading.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
Apr 23, 2016 4:51 PM CST
Thanks, folks.
I'm going to watch them like a hawk, to the extent that I can.
The fall leaves from oaks and so forth are almost all gone. My yard is surrounded by massive old oaks.
I rake repeatedly in the fall and again in the spring. I'm a little ahead of my
usual pace this time around. The leaves have so far not contributed to the
rot. I think it's just the frost damage.
[Last edited by LiquidFeet - Apr 23, 2016 5:00 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1125937 (5)
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
Garden Art Dragonflies Houseplants Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant Identifier
Image
AlyssaBlue
Apr 23, 2016 5:38 PM CST
This is interesting (because I'm surprised). I've never known hosta to actually die. If one plant slows down, a LOT take over. We even used round-up on them one year because we wanted them removed from one area where we were planting lilies and pulling them out didn't work. Nope, those little hosta kept popping up that grew into big hosta.

I wanted to let you know that I've never seen hosta actually not make it, so stay hopeful!!! If you have around 400, I'm bet it's beautiful!

Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
Apr 23, 2016 6:08 PM CST
It is beautiful. When they bloom, it's fabulous. Frilly light blossoms wave above the plants in four separate phases over the whole summer. I have dark green areas, variegated white areas, yellow areas, and green areas. I love and baby my hostas.

I've had crown rot attack one section of my hosta garden. These were my beloved small white hostas (well, mostly white). A bunch of them died in a two-three week period. It started with the leaves wilting for no reason, then falling free of the crown, again for no apparent reason. What I hadn't checked was what was happening down at the ground level. When I felt around down there, I felt goo in the crowns and smelled a horrid rotting smell. The leaves fell off because of that. This happened in the middle of the summer.

After reading up on the symptoms, I learned it was crown rot. I took them out of the ground, removed the dirt and threw it away (infected and impossible to fix) and drenched the whole area with some expensive chemical that promised to kill the crown rot virus-bacteria-fungus-whatever it was. Then I cleaned up the sick plants by removing all the dirt (over a very big bucket that I cleaned up the same way later). I pinched and washed away everything that smelled rotten or felt gooey. Then I soaked what was left of the poor plants in that same chemical. After all this toxin-removing activity, I replanted them in pots with new soil and quarantined them for the rest of the summer and over the winter. Half died. The rest were clean and healthy the next summer. I didn't put them in the ground again until the following fall, more than a year from when it all started, when I was sure they were truly well.

THAT's what I'm worried about.
[Last edited by LiquidFeet - Apr 23, 2016 6:15 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1126038 (7)
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
Garden Art Dragonflies Houseplants Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant Identifier
Image
AlyssaBlue
Apr 23, 2016 6:26 PM CST
Wow, you've been through it. I get it now and I didn't know that was possible. I hope that's not the case. I just looked up crown rot- it's a fungus. We've used Immunox for roses, and for the dogwood tree that kept dropping leaves (and it works). Wondering if that would stop the spread of it, if you did a mass spray? I looked on the website, and Immunox lists control of crown rot for the product.
Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
Apr 23, 2016 6:54 PM CST
That's probably what I used last time.
I'd rather not use it unless it's necessary. I'll keep a close watch out there, spot-checking hostas for rot below the leaf.
Oh I hope it doesn't show up.
I hate even to think of it.

I am hoping someone will post who has experienced frost damage followed by this. And I hope this person says their hostas never suffered from crown rot after that goo appeared on the leaves.

After all, rotting leaves may be normal after frost damage, and may have nothing to do with crown rot. Maybe. No one so far posting here knows.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Apr 23, 2016 7:07 PM CST
I'm not 100% sure I'm interpreting the problem correctly, but last year we had a very late freeze here after the hostas had emerged and the leaves were completely frozen on some. They came back just fine even though the leaves were brown and slimey and collapsed. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect but by summer you'd never know anything had happened to them.
[Last edited by sooby - Apr 23, 2016 7:09 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1126095 (10)
Name: Shannon
Burkeville,Va (Zone 7a)
The House on the Hill Gardens
Roses Butterflies Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Peonies
Sedums Hostas Cottage Gardener Echinacea Clematis Irises
Image
Shannon
Apr 23, 2016 7:10 PM CST
@liquidfeet Hi Sue ... I have a bunch of hosta that have been thru A LOT .. some have even been in pots for over three years
and they spent two winters in RI and made it. This late winter here in Va was bad we had warm weather and they all started
coming up then we had three frosts in one week Sad All of them were hit bad , most had leaf melt and some rot . I cleaned them up
by removing the bad leaves I still have some that are not happy . But, looking better everyday . I have about 75 to 100 hosta and
only lost my favorite one so far. Your gardens sound great . Hopefully they will just be mad and get over it and get growing Whistling Group hug
The horse is God's gift to mankind. ~Arabian Proverb
Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
Apr 23, 2016 8:57 PM CST
Those last two posts make me feel like it's possible that all will be OK. Thanks a bunch, sooby and Shannon, for your info.
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
Image
riverman123
Apr 23, 2016 10:51 PM CST
400??? Wow! And I thought our 58 was a lot! we get that freezing rot from time to time here in Washington as well. honestly, we don't worry about it causing too many problems. but then, we only have 58 of them! haha! we usually wait until the plants get about a foot tall, then we go through them and snip out all the affected leaves- they'll never be missed on well established plants. but again, we only have 58 of them...
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Hostas Container Gardener Hummingbirder Cat Lover Birds
Region: New York Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dog Lover Tropicals
Image
Christine
Apr 28, 2016 8:16 AM CST
Sue, how are your Hosta's doing? Mine are finally coming back Hurray!
Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
Apr 28, 2016 8:26 AM CST
I've been watching them. We had frost two nights ago, but no deep freezing.
The ones I check on that look suspicious show no goo. They do look wounded but are stiff, at least there's that.
The daylilies are wounded too, but no goo there either. At least none look bad down at crown level.

So all is OK so far.
I'm glad to hear your hostas are recovering.

Florin
May 17, 2016 8:06 AM CST
Very interesting series of replies. I came to this site looking to see if I was the only one that lost 95% (no joke) of her hostas.... We had the same warm/cold flip in weather here in the Hudson valley, and the ONLY hostas that are coming up for me (with only 2 exceptions) are seedlings from the original plants.
Probably lost 30 years of hostas, at least 8 different types, and dozens and dozens of plants. Entire areas of the garden are empty.
Besides irises, hostas are my favorite plants, despite fighting off the deer to keep them! The weird weather seems to have helped my ferns and irises, but the hostas are gone -- not even the rotting crowns mentioned above. It's like they were never there....

Will have to find a local gardening group to see if I can swap some irises for hostas....
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
Garden Art Dragonflies Houseplants Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant Identifier
Image
AlyssaBlue
May 17, 2016 8:19 AM CST
It didn't occur to me to ask if you guys were cutting down the hostas in the fall- I'm just so used to cutting them down to the ground. They stay very healthy that way. When I had a large amount of hostas, I used to cut them down with everything else in November. Then they grew back so thick in the spring, they were hard to control because they came up so thick. I have about 20 hosta now and they are coming up in thicker groupings.
Name: Sue
(Zone 6a)
New England
Image
LiquidFeet
May 17, 2016 12:46 PM CST
I don't cut them down. I cut the scapes off after they bloom, but not down at the ground level. I've heard that keeping them ground level helps avoid rot. Those scapes are hollow; they can hold water. So if they are real low, they can help promote rot in the spring when the snow is gone.
I allow the oak leaves to cover the hostas over the winter. Somewhwere I read to do that, too, to help keep the hostas from popping up out of the dirt. At this point none of my hostas are going to hop anywhere; they weigh a ton. Anyway, in early spring I rake away the fallen leaves, pull out the rest of the scapes, and clean up everything. My timing is usually bad. If I could get to this before the pips start coming up, that would be perfect. As they rise is bad, because I can't see them and step on the poor babies. So I usually wait until I can find the pips, then very carefully pull away the leaves and scapes and rake where the rake will fit. It takes me weeks to get all the leaves up. Lots of oaks surrounding the property, lots of hostas, lots of wind.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by nativeplantlover and is called "Bumble Veronica Pink"