All Things Gardening forum: Impatiens fungal disease

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Charter ATP Member
Feb 22, 2012 11:59 AM CST
The February 21st issue of Florida Today is reporting the statewide outbreak of the pathogen "Plasmopara" aka "downy mildew" being found in Impatiens "Walleriana". "New Guinea" and "SunPatiens" do not seem to be affected. The pathogen has been around for a number of years but struck Florida's Palm Beach County late last year. The disease is already found through Europe, S.Africa and the NE U.S. This latest outbreak may be the result of the cool, damp weather Florida has experienced this winter. Early symptoms are a faint, subtle whitening of the leaves. As the fungus progresses, the infected leaves fall off and eventually the plant dies. It is recommended that this particular strain of impatiens be pulled, gathered up and destroyed. The pathogen is both airborne and waterborne so all infected material and associated debris needs to be bagged and sealed. The spores of this fungus are very long-lived so compost use is not recommended and the areas of display or worktables would need to be sanitized.

Protective fungicides may work if applied before infection sets in. Another solution recommended is a spray mix of milk and water since milk works well as a fungicide if used quick enough. The Florida State Department of Agriculture can be contacted for more information or the author of the news article, [email protected].

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