Potted plants propagated as stem cuttings such as impatiens, geraniums, and poinsettia are more susceptible to Rhizoctonia crown and cutting rot. The problem begins right after plants are transplanted in the landscape. The disease starts out as a dry, brown basal rot that can develop before or after rooting. Then the base of stem breaks off easily from the rest of the plant. Affected plants may also suffer from wilting, chlorosis, stunting, and eventually death.
Control for Rhizoctonia crown and cutting rot includes planting resistant varieties and sanitation. Remove promptly all dead and affected plants, and debris. Plan to establish your plantings in a different location or rotate to other plants that are not affected by the disease. Fungicides (e.g. iprodione, thiophanate-methyl) applied as a soil drench have been found effective against Rhizoctonia crown, root, and cutting rot but may not be available for homeowner's use.
This article originally appeared in the July 30, 1999 issue, p. 105.
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