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How to deal with Pythium aphanidermatum in mums
A whole slew of plant diseases share the “Pythium” family name, but what we’re looking at here is Pythium aphanidermatum. This water-mold fungus hides out on dirty flats and trowels or in potting media, or sneaks in on cuttings. Pythium root rot is hard to control once it’s gotten a hold, so prevention is the name of the game.
A too-hot, too-dry, too-wet routine stresses those roots; so does poor nutrition. Basic cultural controls like good sanitation and transplanting during cool morning or evening hours can help. And vigorous, well-nourished (but not over-fertilized) transplants are often more tolerant of rot.
If you’re struggling with recurrent pythium root rot, start with your classic cultural controls. But also consider a preventive drench or biological control agent, applied as early in the cropping cycle as possible. Remember to rotate drench materials — some populations of pythium are now resistant to certain commonly used fungicides.
Author: Mary M. Woodsen, New York State Integrated Pest Management Program
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