Unpacking The Effects Of Phytophthora

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Unpacking The Effects Of Phytophthora


In the world of your garden, water molds like Phytophthora are heartstopping when you discover them. Moreso than even bacterial infections, these can lead to dehydrated plants, wilted leaves, discoloration, and even death.

So what does this deadly disease look like? What can you do once you’ve found it? And is there any hope for the rest of your plants, after an infection?

Join us, today, as we take a closer look.


What It Is

Let’s start today’s article with the single most intimidating thing about Phytophthora: its name.

“Phytophthora” comes from the Greek φυτόν (phytón), “plant”, and φθορά (phthorá), “destruction”.

The plant destroyer.

Once you get past the drama of its name, though, the impact this disease can have on your garden is every bit as extreme.

Ornamental trees can and will develop root rot and crown rot. Phytophthora is an extremely aggressive fungus, stopping the usual absorption of water into plants with dead plant matter. This can obviously lead to sickness and eventual death in your plants.

How To Identify It

When diagnosing phytophthora, the two most important things to look for are diseased patterns and drainage.

On a flat plane, the spread of the infection can be physically observed as it moves from one plant to the next. Leaves will appear drought stressed, wilted and discolored, and you’ll notice this condition moving to neighboring plants. Pay attention to darkened bark around the soil line, as well.

Water drainage issues can be spotted in areas of your plantation where water seems to accumulate. Plastic-covered ground can also cause these kinds of puddles. Pay attention to these areas, as flooding can cause the buildup of this kind of mold.

How To Manage It

When it comes to treating phytophthora, you have a few options, any combination of which should help:

  1. Fix your water drainage. Make changes to your soil aeration, plant layout, and compaction, to help lead water away from your plants. You could also raise the planting site up a few meters, to help guide water downhill, away from where it can do harm.
  2. Categorise your planting areas, following a layout that focuses on the watering needs of each plant. Water exactly according to each plant’s needs, to avoid overdoing it.
  3. Remove soil. Where soil has been piled up over the crown of your plant, remove it and expose the root flare. This is where fungal infections are most likely to occur.
  4. Replace your plants with disease-resistant varieties. Obviously, this is a solution that requires replacing plants you’ve already invested time and money in. Still, if your goal is to keep your plants in good shape, sometimes the best course of action is to plant hardier plants.

Unfortunately, once the disease has taken hold, there’s really only one course of action for the infected plants. You’ll need to uproot them, remove them, and destroy them before they infect the rest of your plants.

Phytophthora: Forewarned Is Forearmed

As with any major tree disease, the biggest tool you have in your arsenal against Phytophthora is knowledge.

Keep a close eye on your garden, and watch for signs. If you have confirmed phytophthora at any point, remove the offending plants and rework your water drainage.

Interested in learning more about your plants, or looking for tree removal services in the Volusia area? Get in touch with us, today, or check out some of our other great blogs, for more!

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