Ask a Question forum: Asters turning brown

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Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
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LysmachiaMoon
Oct 5, 2014 5:35 AM CST
I have several small beds/big clumps of a dark purple New England Aster (native variety). The foliage on the clump at the very top of the garden has been slowly turning brown (crisp and dry) from bottom to top. The plants are normal height and have bloomed profusely, despite the brown foliage. Is this simply from lack of water? I've noticed that clumps/plants in lower parts of the garden where the soil moisture is more consistent are unaffected. I've also noticed some new green growth on the browned plants now that weather is cooler. Is this a blight of some sort or simply too dry conditions? The original plant that all these came from was growing in a boggy area.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 5, 2014 2:20 PM CST
Do any of these aster problems from Penn State look like yours?
http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheet...
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Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Oct 5, 2014 2:53 PM CST
Hi Woofie, I already found that page from Penn State, the only one that seems like it might fit is the "Leaf Spots" one although I can't honestly say I noticed any spots on the leaves.... I guess I'll try a fungicide next summer if it looks like repeating. I have noticed that the clumps in moister ground are NOT browned, and that seems a bit counter-intuitive if it's a fungus leaf spot...you'd think the moister clumps would be more likely affected.
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Oct 5, 2014 3:06 PM CST
Well, my only experience with problems with asters was aster wilt a few years ago with my Chinese asters. And they just flat died. Doesn't sound like what you're describing, tho.
Hopefully someone with more knowledge will chime in. Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Oct 5, 2014 5:00 PM CST
I would rule out powdery mildew first, without seeing the plants. Look for white powdery patches on the leaves that aren't yet dead. Dry soil and lower leaves first affected fits.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Oct 6, 2014 9:00 AM CST
Yes--lower leaves brown and crispy in an otherwise normal plant does occur in dry conditions and with inconsistent moisture--which is how I grow everything Whistling .
I have quite a few (they spread) pink and purple, tall New England types and they always get brown lower leaves. The shorter New York types with wider leaves (like 'Purple Dome') also regularly get all brown and scraggly around the base while the more narrow leaved varieties seem to fare somewhat better.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 6, 2014 11:13 AM CST
How timely - I was just thinking what I should plant next season in front of my Purple Dome asters to hide the lower ugliness, which I just assumed was its normal MO as it happens every year. First thought was to pop in some garden mums or pansies to hide the brown and offer some color contrast. The pansies will hang on for most of the winter, but the garden mums are a pretty short show for me - they tend to fade from the top down pretty quickly.
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Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Oct 7, 2014 6:41 AM CST
I'm really starting to "get into" asters...I've got several native varieties on the property. The dark purple is a tall bushy plant, very prolific flowers and a gorgeous color. Then I've got the white "michaelmas daisy" type. I've got a lovely pale lilac colored one with heartshaped leaves and then another sort of mixed lilac/white type with narrow leaves. since these are all natives (and native to my property), they all seem to be doing great...it's only the purple one in the driest spot that turned crispy brown, so with all the feedback I've received here....I'm really starting to think it's some sort of fungus/mildew that is brought on by water stress. Thank You!
The end is nothing, the journey is all.

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