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Re: dying hosta & winter

As a grower in the hot humid south I need to say that I have no problem with 
the so called Southern Blight.  In fact the South seems to have less problem 
than I have heard discussed from you folks north of us. 

 Southern Blight does not hurt the crown.  If it occurs just clean off all 
the mulch and all of the plant growth.  Carry then out of the garden but not 
to the compost.  Drench the area with a fungicide and within two weeks the 
plant is back looking good.  If the condition reoccurs it is a good idea to 
treat the area the next spring before there is evidence of its happening 
again. In other words do it the way we do out children give them a preventive 

One thing that I never do and have heard some discussion of it being done in 
a lot of gardens and that is to broadcast fertilizer.  I am always very 
careful to put any fertilizer at least 3 to 5 inches away from the crown.  If 
there is a possibility of rain washing the fertilize, I dig holes around the 
plant and cover the fertilizer before going to the next plant.  Years ago 
when working with German iris I learned that getting fertilizer to close to 
the plant can be BAD.  This also seems to apply to hostas.

Now crown rot is a different matter.  If it is crown rot and the plant does 
not cost an arm and a leg just dig it out, remove all of the soil around it 
and discard the plant and soil.  Most of the time it is not worth the time, 
chemicals and the effort to try to save the plant.  We seem to have two types 
of crown rot down here.  One seems to be caused from very hot dry weather.  
It is detected by the dry reddish brown fibers inside the crown.  There is 
also a dark vein running through the center of the roots. The plant may be 
great this summer but comes back next spring with many small divisions that 
do not grow. This condition does not produce an odor like the soft rot, that 
seems to be caused form close contact with fertilizer and wet conditions.  In 
my garden the plants derived from sieboldiana crosses are most susceptible to 
this dry type of rot.  I have never seen a plant from plantaginea breeding be 
affected with this condition.

Well, I have been rambling on relating things from my experiences. I make no 
claims based on a degree of higher education  and refuse to debate with 
anyone.  It would be interesting to hear from anyone that has the same or 
different observations to make.  I am always looking for information along 
with a friendly chat
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