What happened to my garden? - Knowledgebase Question

Byhalia, Mi
Question by jbarnett6
July 11, 2010
My garden has up & died, first the squash, corn wilted, eggplant & cucumber. It was mulched w/ black mulch & newspaper, irrigated w/ soaker hoses and rain showers. I've never had this happen before. Insects has been under control. It's like it was sprayed with a herbicide.


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Answer from NGA
July 11, 2010

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Sounds like a vascular wilt to me. If you're sure the soil had adequate moisture then I would suspect either Verticillium or Fusarium. The initial symptoms of Verticillium and Fusarium wilts are wilting of the plant leaves during the heat of the day. Affected plants often recover in the evening or overnight. Gradually, however, the wilting becomes progressively worse and many plants eventually die. Verticillium and Fusarium wilts are caused by soil-borne fungi that invade plants through the roots. The fungi spread into the water-conducting tissue (xylem) in the stem and block the flow of water to the foliage. Foliage of affected plants turns yellow, then wilts and dies. A cut through the lower stem of a dead plant often reveals a brownish discoloration of the vascular tissue.

There is nothing that can be done for plants that have Verticillium or Fusarium wilts. Plants that die should be removed and destroyed. Crop rotation is of limited value as the vascular wilt fungi may survive in the soil for several years. The use of resistant varieties is the most practical way for you to prevent losses due to wilts. Resistant varieties may become infected but many plants survive and produce an acceptable crop. Resistant varieties are available in seed catalogs and at garden centers.

I wish you better luck with your garden next year.

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