Root, bulb and rhizome troubles. This section is under development.

Sclerotinia is a very unwelcome fungus that has several infectious forms in leaves stems and root systems. Often, it begins underground and climbs upward, as shown to the left. Pictured is an infected Calopogon colony. The globular sclerotium are dormant reproductive structures which can stay viable for years. Their appearance gives rise to one common name: "Mustard Seed Fungus". These sclerotia grow in favorable conditions and spread spores which spread the infections. Flytraps (Dionaea) are vulnerable, as are many thousands of other plants. In Dionaea, the crown seems to melt prior to sclerotia appearing. Remove infected plants and soil; do not compost this or re-use the infected soil unless autoclaved or steam sterilized. Remove healthy plants that are nearby (within about a foot) and that soil as well. Apparently healthy plants may be washed thoroughly to remove any soil/media and possible contaminants. Use fresh soil to replant. Systemic fungicides can help a great deal. Cleary's 3336 and Zyban have shown good control on Sclerotinia.

Insects can invade underground as external or internal pests. Borers in the rhizome are often discovered by looking for a sawdust-like excrement (frass) piled near or on the rhizome. Root aphids and mealybugs tend to congregate near the growing tip and are often spread by ants. Orthene usually controls these insects, but Marathon is often more effective. We have used Malathion in the past; the addition of 10% isopropanol alcohol to the mixing water seemed to enhance insect kill of scales and mealybugs on Sarracenia. Surgical removal of borers is possible. We are interested in conducting experiments using heat. Although we have no data yet, it should be possible to use water treated to 115-120 degrees F as a bath to kill stubborn pests. Some plants will not tolerate this kind of treatment, but Rob is hoping to conduct experiments to see if/how heat may be useful. Timing and exact temperature control will be necessary. It may also be possible to use heat to fight fungus as well. A hot water bath, for example, is known to help fight off Monilinia- the Brown Rot of Peaches; after the peaches are picked, they are soaked in hot water to kill the fungus on the fruit.
Poor Root Growth can result from anaerobic soil/media. The lack of sufficient oxygen can create an environment that encourages fungal or bacterial diseases. Stagnant water, trapped in the media, fills air spaces and can cause all sorts of problems. For this reason (and several others) we recommend drain holes in bog gardens or container plantings. Fresh water can percolate through media and add dissolved oxygen. Also, as water leaves the media it is replaced by air. In older plantings, the peat moss or sphagnum may rot into a slimy muck. When this happens, it is best to replace the soil. If the mucky soil is clinging to the roots, a gentle spray of water is helpful to wash off the ooze. Repotting in fresh media is often a good first step when root or plant growth is poor. If the media is old, but still porous (as can happen in mixes with a lot of sand or perlite) a home-made peat tea can often correct or improve the media. Click here for more information and a "recipe" for peat tea.
We will add to this section as time/energy permit.
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