Cactus and Succulents forum→HELP! Part of my (possibly) old man cactus is rotting.

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Name: João V.
Lisbon - PT (Zone 10b)
Greetings from Portugal!
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Wallknocker
Jun 1, 2020 5:22 PM CST
So that small pup has been getting smaller this past few weeks, so today I checked on it and it seemed darker at the base. I tried to somehow get a better look through the white fuzz and it came right off, and it was dark and gooey, so I guess rot. Crying

Thumb of 2020-06-01/Wallknocker/3af1a9


Thumb of 2020-06-01/Wallknocker/237f9a

I am actually not sure if everything is the same plant or each pup is a distinct one, but is there any chance of it spreading? It doesn't look like it has so far, but it is kinda hard to be sure with all the spines and fuzz... Thinking

The pot has drainage and the soil mix is the one I used for all my cactus (compost, peat, coir, sand, and pumice, totaling about 50% organic, 50% not organic). I always make sure it is dry before watering again (about 2-3 times a month, as I've ever been, never had root issues). I repoted it just about three weeks ago and it seemed fine... Should I check on the roots? What else should I do? Confused

Thanks in advance!
(Sorry for any eventual bad english! ^^")
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
Jun 1, 2020 5:57 PM CST
Did you water it right after repotting it?

Hard to know if those are offsets or all individual plants. However, that rot is bad enough that you want to take the plant(s) out of the soil and inspect the roots. Salad/kitchen tongs can help you handle these plants without getting too many spines and what not poking you.

Get whatever is left of the roots as clean as possible. So you may have to rinse any soil off then let it all dry out really well. Hopefully these are separate plants and the other plants have good roots left, so a week or so from now you can repot them. If they are connected, hopefully the rot has not already spread to the other plants. You will want to make sure whatever roots are there are clean and healthy, if it looks like they are in bad shape better to amputate the roots and hope that after a drying out period the surviving plant can grow new ones.

It is what it is!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jun 1, 2020 6:20 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, when you unpot this clump (I suspect there are multiple plants) do it carefully, without dripping/dropping rotted plant parts on the seemingly healthy plants. Contain the liquidy stuff if there is any, and wash your hands/tools after handling the rotted parts and before handling the other plants/branches. I don't know how contagious rot is, but a little extra care definitely wouldn't hurt. I would get rid of the rocks on top of the soil to ensure that it can breathe and the moisture is not being trapped. A few light rocks are fine as a barrier (I prefer a monolayer of pumice, which transmits moisture) but once they get too heavy and too dense, they start to work against you and can end up entombing moisture sensitive cacti.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 1, 2020 6:21 PM (+)]
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Name: João V.
Lisbon - PT (Zone 10b)
Greetings from Portugal!
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Wallknocker
Jun 2, 2020 6:14 PM CST
mcvansoest said:Did you water it right after repotting it?



No, I waited for about two weeks before watering again...

Ok, so I'll try to check on the roots and hope it hasn't spread.
If they are multiple plants, should I separate them our can I leave them together?
(Sorry for any eventual bad english! ^^")
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
Plant Identifier Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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mcvansoest
Jun 2, 2020 7:52 PM CST
If the roots are healthy you can keep them together, but if not I'd separate them until you know which are going to survive.
It is what it is!
Name: João V.
Lisbon - PT (Zone 10b)
Greetings from Portugal!
Image
Wallknocker
Jun 2, 2020 8:23 PM CST
Ok, so I took it out of the pot and cleaned the roots.

Thumb of 2020-06-03/Wallknocker/5f3576
Thumb of 2020-06-03/Wallknocker/2a02cd

Coincidentally, today was watering day. The soil was bone dry, to the core, so it couldn't have been due to overwatering.

It seems to bee all the same plant, at least I am 100% sure that too of them are.

However, I found no signs of rot. No rotten roots, no stump where the dead pup used to be, no more goo, and no signs of rot on the other offshoots... I'll take it as a good sign for now, but it is kinda weird, it looks almost like the rotten pup was not connected to anything (wich the last time I reported it, I'm pretty sure it was...) Confused

I guess I will wait for about a week to let the roots dry and heal, and then pot it again in clean soil, and hope for the best. Crossing Fingers!

(Sorry for any eventual bad english! ^^")
[Last edited by Wallknocker - Jun 2, 2020 8:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jun 3, 2020 8:14 PM CST

Moderator

Wallknocker said:Coincidentally, today was watering day. The soil was bone dry, to the core, so it couldn't have been due to overwatering.


That is a valuable observation.

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