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Replacing diseased plants

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on October 7, 2010

What happens when a plant dies from a disease?  After removing the dead plant, what do you do?  Well, first, do not compost diseased plants.  Put them in the trash and dispose of them.  You do not want to chance spreading disease all over your home.

The next part, replacing the plant, hinges on the identity of the disease that took the plant in the first time.  In general, it is not wise to replace the deceased plant with another one just like it.  The second plant stands a good chance of dying from the same disease the first did.

Sometimes, as in the case of cotton root rot, there are a large number of plants that are susceptible to that disease and only a few that can resist.  In this case, you may have to leave that spot bare.  Or change your landscape plans to incorporate a resistant plant.  Sometimes all plants of a particular species are effected, such as rose rosette disease.  Then you must not plant that species there again.

In other cases, replacement may merely mean using a cultivar resistant to the specific problem you have identified, such as fire blight.  This is a much easier situation to deal with.

Finally, in some cases it is not a disease at all, but another factor mimicking a disease.  For example, a friend has a gas line that had a seep leak along the ground where it ran.  The gas penetrated the ground and killed a bunch of oak trees in a manner that suggested oak wilt.  When the leak was fixed, so was the problem.  New trees will likely survive there because the gas is gone.

So, when a plant dies, make sure you find out why.  Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes it is harder to identify.  But the reason your plant dies has major implications for how you handle replacing it.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcus October 10, 2010 at 12:49 am

Hello! I wanna thank you for these useful and environment-friendly tips. My mom will be grateful about this, she loves her garden so much and I know that she doesn’t know about the things mentioned in this article. Those tips will help improve her garden. 🙂

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Jerry November 20, 2010 at 2:33 am

Tips for a lifetime use. Thank you so much for the tips, for making us aware that these diseased plants could badly affect other healthy plants. Two green thumbs up for you! 🙂

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