Is It Possible To Conquer Phytophthora (Root Rot)?
by Kevin Cundick

Phytophthora (Root Rot) can affect any plant or tree, especially fruit trees. It is a soil borne organism which infects the roots to the point where it kills the plant. Spores created by Phytophthora are drought resistant, but most active during wet, cool seasons often in the Spring or after harvest.

How can Phythophthora be recognized?
The leaves of the plant will begin to wilt and show a yellowing. Dried leaves will be retained. Young roots and occasionally larger roots will have a dark color. The infection damages roots so they cannot absorb water.

What causes Phythophthora?
Zoo spores cause the infection. These zoo spores like moist soil conditions which allow it to spread from plant to plant. When the infection feels its livelihood is threatened, it can produce to spore types that are capable of surviving in dead plant material for long lengths of time. The infection spreads quickest downhill.

Are there factors which encourage the spread of the disease?
Because the infection thrives in moist soil conditions, flooding and soil compaction help in the spread of the infection. Clay heavy soils can add to the difficulty of adequate drainage which can add to the spread of the infection.

What can be done to treat Phytophthora?
Phytophthora can be difficult to treat, but not impossible. Phytophthora is a fungus and so there is no cure for it, similar to treating a human fungus. First, be sure your plants have adequate drainage. Do not over water. Add organic soil.

If you elect to use a chemical for treatment, it is best to treat the fungus before plants or trees are planted if possible. The use of some fungicides and adding in some organic matter, or mulch, to the soil along with good hygienic practices will reduce the activity of the organism.

Kevin Cundick writes articles for the Best Guide to Gardening web directory. Kevin uses the experiences he has had with Gardening within his articles. For more resources and information on gardening, visit the Best Guide to Gardening website.

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