Please Help! My Peony is dying!

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by C8luvs2gardn, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Can anyone help me to identify what is going on with this peony. I have 3 peony plants: a pink "Sarah Bernhardt", a dark fuschia and a white (not sure of the varieties of these last 2). Of these 3 the white one is in some distress and I need some help. I have inspected carefully and cannot find any insects eg. spider mites, mealybug, etc. There are no flies, eggs or scaly growths that I can see. As you can see from the photos, the leaves are turning a dark purple-black, then they turn brown and the stems dry out.

    All three peonies were fertilized about 3-4 weeks ago with a water soluble (I think it was an all purpose Miracle gro); the other 2 are fine and thriving but about 2 weeks ago I noticed that this one had a problem with a couple small branches. I pruned them off but this is continuing and is getting much worse.

    I was given this plant about 3 years ago and this was the first year it bloomed (very nice too, I might add). I have provided 3 photos, one of the entire plant, and 2 close ups showing the blackish leaves and the dried out leaves and stems.

    This plant is about 10-15 feet away from the other two (it's in the middle) and if i is in any way contagious I don't want it to spread. Please, any suggestions ???
     

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  2. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    It kind of resembles some sort of wilt. Poor roots or lack of sap flow would cause holes in the leaves, and deformity (like the one picture) throughout the plant. To see entire branches die off like that more resembles a disease. Have you tried searching the internet for diseases effecting this type of plant? Unless there is some type of Nidge or stem mining insect I would gear my search for diseases.

    One other thing, look to see if all the dying parts of the plant lead back to the same stock or branch. Possibly one stock was damaged near the bottom, other parts of the plant seem quite healthy. Although wilts can effect only portions of plants at first.

    Only true way to ensure proof of disease is by lab pathology. Visual inspection will not conclude an answer, especially if looking to replant in that area.

    Good luck, Jim.
     
  3. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Thanks for your insight Jimweed. The other day we were doing a more thorough inspection and found that the stems were dead (i.e. woody and brown) at the BASE, so in desperation we decided to cut all the affected stems that we could find. In the process of doing this we discovered a LOT of slugs and hand picked at least 10-15. Further inspection has found that we have many many slugs everywhere this year. UGGHHHH!!

    One of the stems that we culled came out with a little bit of tuber attached. LOOKS like the slugs had bored into the stem at the base and then ate the top of the tuber. I had previously thought they just ate leaves mostly; have never had a real problem with them before, but this year we have had rain almost every day since the beginning of June. Earwigs are also very bad this year.

    At any rate, I found a very good website: Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) I think I will post a new thread with the links - lots of good info there. According to them you should put a gritty substance around the base of the plants to deter them. I have a container full of ground up egg shells which we were going to put into the garden, so I'm going to mix them with sand and bone meal and see how that works.

    Any advice about what we found and our proposed solution would be most welcome. Once again we have to wait as it is an absolute deluge out there AGAIN.

    Cate
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  5. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Hi Michael,

    Thanks, but I don't think that Peony Wilt (Botrytis paeoniae) is the culprit. See below regarding the slugs we found. We have cut off all the affected stems (poor thing, there are only 2 or 3 left!) and so far the remaining ones look ok. It is much easier to check for slugs now, and as well we have circled the base of the peony (and all our other plants as well) with a mixture of crushed eggshells, gritty pea gravel & sand, bone meal and a bit of coarse salt.

    My main objective is to try and save the tubers but I'm not sure how they will manage with so much growth removed so early in the season. I'll let you know how it progresses.
    Cate
     

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