Coneflower Troubles Still (http://gallery.me.com/jadigidy#100024) - Knowledgebase Question

Knoxville, Te
Question by jason73
May 27, 2010
I thought coneflowers were suppose to be drought tolerant, yet everymoring I water mine only to have them wilting my 1 pm. I just took these shots and it's only 11:30. I don't understand. Most of them are mulched near the base. This morning I lifted their leaves and watered at the base, thinking the water wasn't getting all the way to the roots. What do you think may be the prob? Thx


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Answer from NGA
May 27, 2010

0

I looked at the photo and I'm still scratching my head over this one. It's planted high and dry (or so it seems). Purple coneflowers are drought tolerant and too much water can suffocate the roots by driving out oxygen in the soil. This can make them wilt. If you've been really careful with your watering and if your soil drains well (which it should, considering where yours is planted), I hate to grasp at straws but my only other thought is that perhaps there's insect damage. The common stalk borer can cause wilting problems in plants. They bore their way into the stem, pushing sawdust-like frass from the hole as they tunnel. They usually move upwards in the stem, boring holes to the outside as needed to clear the stem of frass. They also migrate to adjacent stems, with each larva damaging many plants. (There are species of borers that spend their lives in one plant, causing less overall damage). Infested stems may wilt as their feeding destroys the plants' vascular system, or it may break in the wind since it is weakened from their tunneling activity. Common stalk borer occasionally infests small twigs on woody plants, too. Check your plant over from base to stem tips for evidence of holes or sawdust or anything that just doesn't look normal. In the meantime, I'll do as much research as possible on any possible causes of wilting in your coneflower plant.

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