Oh, my ailing pansies

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 11, 2018

“What is wrong with my pansies? They were beautiful when I planted them but after a few weeks they are all dying!”

Pansies are declining in many plant beds throughout Rowan County.

The deluge of rainfall from the recent hurricanes is a major contributing factor. Excessive water and warm temperatures this fall has provided the perfect environment for root and stem diseases. Pansies planted a month ago may have fallen victim to both root and stem rot.

Water mold fungi Pythium and Phytophthora sp. are the major fungal disease culprits. Both usually spell eventual death to fall bedding plants. Both fungi persist in the soil, causing problems not only for fall pansies, but for your upcoming summer annuals as well.

There are a few strategies that will help reduce these soil- borne fungal diseases:

• Improve drainage by raising beds several inches above grade.
• Incorporate organic matter/ground bark into the soil.
• Application of systemic fungicides at planting.
• Remove the entire plant including the soil around the roots before planting new bedding plants.
• Inspect transplant roots carefully and avoid plants with discolored roots.
• Remove the top three inches of soil in the planting area and replace with new soil.
• Avoid planting the same plants each year in the same location.

There are steps you can take to ensure the health of your pansies