Sudden Plant Wilt and Death - Knowledgebase Question

Meridian, Id
Question by nbsidaho
October 21, 2010
This has been happening for several years. A plant (raspberry, squash, zinnia, tomato) will be totally healthy, blooming, producing fruit one day and the next it is wilted and if left as it is will die. Although I remove the plant immediately, I still get more plant death. What is causing this and how can I stop it? Note that its neighbor plants are still just fine - same species or otherwis


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Answer from NGA
October 21, 2010

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The wilt you describe can be caused by fungal diseases (Fusarium, for instance) or bacteria, such as Erwinia. Either of these diseases can cause rapid wilt and sudden death of the entire plant. A bacterial root rot is distinguished from fungal diseases by blackened roots and stems. There is often no cure for bacterial wilts. I can't really suggest a control for fungal diseases without knowing exactly what is causing the problem so I can only suggest you try to improve the drainage by incorporating compost or other organic matter into the planting bed. It will also help to rotate your plants. If you plant elsewhere in the garden, your chances of the new plants developing the same problem will be less than if you continue to replant in the same garden spot. For a positive diagnosis, why not take one of the plants, along with the root system with soil attached to your local cooperative extension office? Skilled professionals can identify the problem and suggest control measures. Contact University of Idaho Cooperative Extension, 238 W 8th Ave, Marsing, ID 83639 phone (208) 896-4104. Good luck with your garden!

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