Latest treatment for verticillium wilt?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by RichardOrser, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. RichardOrser

    RichardOrser Member

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    Santa Cruz, California
    I have several japanese maples with, I believe, verticillium wilt. They are losing branches one by one.
    I have read many threads here, but many are old. What is the latest treatment for this evil? It may be too late for my two trees, but I am willing to try most anything.
    Thank you, Richard, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    There are no new techniques for fighting off the
    two forms of Verticillium that are prevalent in
    Maples. The lethal form has no suppressant other
    than not to buy from that grower/seller. This form
    is known as the quick decline form and as soon as
    the Maple starts the decline the game is over. The
    whole plants shuts down seemingly all at once and
    there is nothing we can do for it.

    What you have is probably the more common form
    of Verticillium usually brought about by stress either
    from lack of water, too much water, too much sun
    and not enough water, too much fertilizer and not
    enough water. We deal with this form by pruning
    the branches out that appear to be dying right before
    our eyes. All Japanese Maples have some amount
    of this form of Verticillium in them. It is passed
    from parent to parent. In other words any and all
    grafted Japanese Maples have this pathogen in their
    system due to the pathogen being in the parent, in
    this case the scion parent. Acts very much in this
    respect like Bacterial canker (Pseudonomas syringae)
    does in Fruit Trees. The bothersome aspect for me
    of Verticillium is that I've seen much more evidence
    of Verticillium in the rootstocks coming out of Oregon
    that I ever have before. Not only are the scion parents
    dirty but so is what appears to be a wide range of the
    rootstock. Obviously grafters are not paying attention
    to their rootstock culture and selection but this is not
    new as there were a few individuals around in the mid
    to late 80's that had dirty rootstock then.

    There are some fungicides that right on the label
    state they can be used for Verticillium. I've always
    felt this was a misnomer as the pathogen that they
    are referencing as being Verticillium is a form of
    Pseudonomas instead. Verticillium in the plants
    system to start with cannot be effectively controlled.
    Aside from the lethal form we do not lose our Maples
    solely due to this form of Verticillium, we lose the
    plants because of us and our growing techniques or
    lack or care for the plant before and after the plant
    stresses. Without stress the Maple will generally
    show little effects of the disease but once the plant
    stresses we will see it. Another thing to remember
    is that certain varieties of Japanese Maples are more
    prone to show the effects of this disease than others

    The only way to help ourselves is to quit buying
    the names of the Maples but spend more time on
    the selecting for the quality of the plant itself.
    Buying a run down Maple at a giveaway price is
    no bargain as that plant will take some real babying
    to nurse it back to health and sustain that healthy
    condition if it ever gets there. Too many times
    we bought a mistake that a nursery was selling,
    feeling chipper the whole way home with it and
    then see the Maple die out within three years for
    us. We knew in advance there was a reason why
    the wayward plant was so cheap, we rolled the dice
    and just like the odds are of winning we lose more
    often than we will win.

    I started a thread on Red Filigree Lace in which
    I showed my plant that was going to be a goner
    quite soon. This Maple grew very well for me
    for several years, much longer than most people
    have had a Maple in this forum. The plant started
    to stagnate meaning the Maple would put out
    Spring growth but then did not put out any new
    growth for the rest of the year. That was my
    stormbringer of things to come and I knew it
    dealing with Maple that was notoriously dirty
    in the nursery trade for many years. I got
    some dieback on the plant and pruned it back
    to live wood hoping that the plant would send
    out some new growth but it did not. So, in
    three successive years of pruning the dead
    wood out I kept getting less and less Spring
    growth and then the Maple finally succumbed
    to the Verticillium that was already in the plant.
    The plant just could not regenerate enough new
    growth to supplant the older growth that it was
    losing. The plant essentially gave up and that
    was that.

    What you need to do is start pruning out the
    dead and dying wood right now back to live
    wood. Make sure these Maples do not stress
    any more as continued stress, even in what we
    felt were "clean" (the antithesis of dirty) Maples
    can show the ill effects of Verticillium upon
    stress. If you read the Fireglow threads you
    will know that my Maple undergoes a complete
    burning of the leaves every year once the temps
    get into the 100's for a week. If that Maple was
    or were to die on me due to Verticillium it would
    have already done that years ago. I am dealing
    with a clean Maple as a result as I get no real
    branch dieback from the loss of all of the leaves.
    That is one experiment that came out to my liking.

  3. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    Western Washington
    I am very interested in verticillium wilt, partly because I suspect I have it in my own soil and partly because I work at a retail nursery. One customer came in lately with a Japanese maple sample that we thought probably had it and she sent a sample to the Washington State Extension Service to have it confirmed. It was verticillium wilt even though it did not have the brown streaks in the cambian layer that is often a symptom. The tree was many years old but died quickly. No growing conditions had changed and it had never had any die-back before. She does buy compost and mulch with it every year. Could the lethal strain have come in with that? Does the lethal strain have a name? If you have it, should you not plant anything susceptible in the area? Does it spread easily to the rest of the garden? I must admit I am pretty concerned about the fact that a lot of Japanese maples carry this fungus in one strain or another. Thank you for this information. I had suspected something like this. I don't know if I feel right recommending them to customers knowing they have this fungus. We sell a lot of them in our nursery and they look very healthy, but I don't want to infect customer's gardens. Is it widespread or a native fungus, enough so that possibility of introducing it into their yards isn't a major concern? What are the varieties that are more susceptible? I don't know if you feel right in telling, but if you do, who grows clean stock? I can understand if you don't.
    I have had many plants show signs of it over the years, and a few have died. Who knows, I could easily have a phytophtera too, I should have it tested to tell for sure. My latest worry has been my large Dove tree that has had shown the yellowing branches on one side of the tree in summer symptoms like verticillium wilt. So far I haven't seen it yet, I hope it has compartmentalized the fungus for this year. I would hate to lose it, I grew it from a gallon pot. I read that ammonium sulfate can help, what do you think of that? I have my doubts, I did buy some last year but haven't tried it yet.
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
  5. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southwest France
    I have not detected any verticilium-like symptoms in any of the maples I have in the ground. However I have problems with some maples still in pots that may be due to it. Since I do not know for sure I would like to benefit from the experiencxe of those who, unfortunately, have been confronted with it.

    It is my Taroh yama which was splendid in the spring (see the post I placed in the Gallery: Taroh yama). However in June it started to decline, leaves would shrivel in the edges and some would fall. No new growth and the end limbs have started to change color from green to reddish brown. I have pruned off one branch (see pics) and it looks good with no discoloration in the vascular system.

    What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  6. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi Gomero,

    You need to show us a cross section of the branch so we can see what's happening *inside*. When you cut the branch that is suffering from verticillium, but not dead yet, and look at the inside you may see a dark circle or band where the xylem layer should be. The verticillium clogs this vascular layer that transports nutrients and moisture to the leaves and branches. Usually you'll see this banding on a main branch or trunk and not so much on the outer branches even though it's these outer branches that are affected the most.

    FWIW, I have a tomato plant that I suspect has verticillium. One of the main branches coming off the trunk started looking real bad. I cut it and saw the telltale dark ring. The other branches don't look as bad but they're showing typical "tomato" verticillium signs...yellowing leaves eventually drying up from the base on up. I may have to toss it. I'm also watching my Butterfly as it too seems to have verticillium symptoms, though it could just be adjusting to it's new hotter, sunnier surroundings.

    The best thing you can do with regards to maples is to prevent the fungus from getting a foothold in your tree. Pathogens are everywhere and like us plants will succumb to them if their health is compromised. If they are healthy they have a better chance of staving off the disease. That means keeping them properly watered and fertilized.


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