Plant Diseases

Texas Root Rot

Texas Root Rot
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Also called cotton root rot, this fungal disease is common in the warm, alkaline soils of the Southwest. It destroys the outer portions of roots, cutting off a plant's water supply. The fungus can survive in the soil for about 5 years.

Target: More than 2,000 plant species. Grasses and other mono-cots.

Damage: Sudden wilting of leaves in summer, without leaf drop Rotted roots are covered with yellowish fungal growth.

Control: Resistant plants, acidifying the soil.

Notes: You may be able to salvage an infected tree or shrub by pruning off half the foliage, then loosening the soil to the drip line and covering it with 2 inches of composted manure. On top of the manure, scatter Soil Acidifier at a rate of 1 pound per 10 square feet. Form a watering basin and soak the soil 3 to 4 feet deep. In the future, increase the organic content of planting beds and add Soil Acidifier to decrease alkalinity.