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Pythium and Sarracenia


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Hi everyone,

I see there has been some discussion on this subject.

I have seen Pythium attacks on Sarracenia over many years and in 2006 ago had a bad attack of it due to a bad batch of peat. I sent samples to Defra who identified the pathogen and advised me what to do

If one notices young maturing pitchers get a dead patch on the pitcher a few inches or so above the soil level, the way to treat the plant is to remove the affected foliage with scissors. It is important then to clean or sterilize the scissors every time. In the winter, I washed all the soil off, removed all dead leaf based and top foliage. I now also give the plants a top dressing of milled pine bark which according to this date sheet helps to resist this particular pathogen .

http://www.melcourt.co.uk/pdf/Melcourt%20Growbark-Pine.pdf

and in particular, this one:

http://www.melcourt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Melcourt-Hortibark-Pine.pdf

And one those plants, the problem is no more.

Other measure: I pressure wash the greenhouses twice a year in the dormant period and clean the glass and reachable surfaces. I also use a general fungicide spray like Bayer Systhene fungus fighter

I hope this helps and in this changing weather situation, keep an eye out for it.

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Guest GazCez

Still here watching..........All this is very interesting and my knowledge of pythium has increased in the last four days considerably.

 

When you mention 'reachable surfaces' does that also mean the floor of the greenhouse?

 

Do you also clean out your water collecting devices including the tall towers, the house roof, gutters and everything else?

 

I want to learn all I can.

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According to several members on here, Pythium does not exist in the UK. Well, thanks to a cp grower sending me a link to a hydroponics website, and having spoken to a chap at the company, it transpires that Pythium does in fact exist here. They also sell a product which they claim will treat it in its very early stages, but also act as a preventative measure with regular use.  Just proves that not everyones research into this problem is as thorough as they claim.

 

I will start using it as soon as it arrives, and will post any results / problems with it as and when results etc are seen.

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Please do not distort what was said Ady. Pythium is everywhere, however there have not been reports of carnivorous plants being infected with this pathogen in the UK on the fora. 

Was your hydroponics man  referring to carnivorous plants or something else? So far I have seen one confirmation of this pathogen infecting carnivorous plants in the UK and that is Mike's post today regarding his own collection  which suffered an attack nine years ago and it is apparently recurring. ( He has seen many attacks over the years.)

It's very difficult to research something that someone has kept secret. I can understand why due to commercial pressure. I repeat I can understand it but can't defend it. 

The scientific information says it is controllable if you know you have it. Once a plant is infected it is said not to be curable, if a plant gets it it stays with it  Some fungicides can help to lessen its effect but again are not a cure. Increased air circulation. keeping the plants relatively cool etc can also lessen the effects as apparently can growing in live sphagnum.The only real answer at the end of the day really is incineration.

There are ways to lessen the risk of infection, I believe some species of Trichoderma are recommended for this and have to be applied before infection or in the very very early stages of infection an indication of which I suppose is a plant or plants keeling over at the far end of the greenhouse. The pathogen is water borne so keeping plants dry also helps but as you well know this doesn't do many carnivorous plants a lot of good. Cleanliness is also important, any tools / equipment used on infected plants needs sterilising after use. 

The real trick is not to get it in your collection in the first place which can be difficult if you are unaware if someone has it in theirs and doesn't tell you.

Once the pathogen has found inroads into your collection insects can carry the Pathogen to infect other plants not connected with the same water supply ( tray) as can domestic pets and of course humans. 

 Mike has already said that you are safe to visit his collection as you will take none of your own plants and will wash your hands. ( Yes I assume it was meant as a joke too) That however does not cover any of the pathogen on your body, clothes or shoes. There again it appears that Mike already has the pathogen present* but under some control so perhaps the risk isn't that great for him. I do wonder what his customers in the hotter climates will make of this admission though.

 

* I saw no reference to infected plants being destroyed in his post, in fact the opposite.

 

A second point regarding your trial. What are you doing a trial on? You don't have a confirmed case of Pythium and really until you do there's not a lot of point is there?

If there's no confirmed Pythium present it would be like me saying a banana placed on my garden path keeps elephants away. I've tried it and it works, I've not found a single elephant hiding in the fernery to date.

 

Any further relevant information is welcomed.

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According to several members on here, Pythium does not exist in the UK. Well, thanks to a cp grower sending me a link to a hydroponics website, and having spoken to a chap at the company, it transpires that Pythium does in fact exist here. They also sell a product which they claim will treat it in its very early stages, but also act as a preventative measure with regular use.  Just proves that not everyones research into this problem is as thorough as they claim.

 

I will start using it as soon as it arrives, and will post any results / problems with it as and when results etc are seen.

I believe in the hydroponics world it may be known as bud rot .

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Guest GazCez

Does this mean that the infection starts from the bud ie the bottom or crown of a sarracenia rather than 3/4 of the way up a pitcher?

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Please do not distort what was said Ady. Pythium is everywhere, however there have not been reports of carnivorous plants being infected with this pathogen in the UK on the fora. 
Was your hydroponics man  referring to carnivorous plants or something else? So far I have seen one confirmation of this pathogen infecting carnivorous plants in the UK and that is Mike's post today regarding his own collection  which suffered an attack nine years ago and it is apparently recurring. ( He has seen many attacks over the years.)
It's very difficult to research something that someone has kept secret. I can understand why due to commercial pressure. I repeat I can understand it but can't defend it. 
The scientific information says it is controllable if you know you have it. Once a plant is infected it is said not to be curable, if a plant gets it it stays with it  Some fungicides can help to lessen its effect but again are not a cure. Increased air circulation. keeping the plants relatively cool etc can also lessen the effects as apparently can growing in live sphagnum.The only real answer at the end of the day really is incineration.
There are ways to lessen the risk of infection, I believe some species of Trichoderma are recommended for this and have to be applied before infection or in the very very early stages of infection an indication of which I suppose is a plant or plants keeling over at the far end of the greenhouse. The pathogen is water borne so keeping plants dry also helps but as you well know this doesn't do many carnivorous plants a lot of good. Cleanliness is also important, any tools / equipment used on infected plants needs sterilising after use. 
The real trick is not to get it in your collection in the first place which can be difficult if you are unaware if someone has it in theirs and doesn't tell you.
Once the pathogen has found inroads into your collection insects can carry the Pathogen to infect other plants not connected with the same water supply ( tray) as can domestic pets and of course humans. 
 Mike has already said that you are safe to visit his collection as you will take none of your own plants and will wash your hands. ( Yes I assume it was meant as a joke too) That however does not cover any of the pathogen on your body, clothes or shoes. There again it appears that Mike already has the pathogen present* but under some control so perhaps the risk isn't that great for him. I do wonder what his customers in the hotter climates will make of this admission though.
 
* I saw no reference to infected plants being destroyed in his post, in fact the opposite.
 
A second point regarding your trial. What are you doing a trial on? You don't have a confirmed case of Pythium and really until you do there's not a lot of point is there?
If there's no confirmed Pythium present it would be like me saying a banana placed on my garden path keeps elephants away. I've tried it and it works, I've not found a single elephant hiding in the fernery to date.
 
Any further relevant information is welcomed.

 

The trial bit referred to using the product from the hydroponics guy on some "spare Sarracenias" I have before using it on the main collection to see how it affects the plant. However, due to the fact I have found more "floppy" pitchers today (ie tops bent completely over) I may well just go straight in and use it on all the Sarracenias anyway. Do you think thats the best way forward or would you suggest trying it ona few first?

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I believe in the hydroponics world it may be known as bud rot .

I think it is yes

 

Does this mean that the infection starts from the bud ie the bottom or crown of a sarracenia rather than 3/4 of the way up a pitcher?

As far as I understand it, the problem starts in the roots. Happy to be corrected though.

Edited by Carnivine
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Does this mean that the infection starts from the bud ie the bottom or crown of a sarracenia rather than 3/4 of the way up a pitcher?

 

I think "bud" might refer more to certain smokeable vegetation rather than plant anatomy

I  could be wrong though. 

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It affects roots too Ceri. It's deadly in Darlingtonia. The first  confirmed infection I was aware of was that of Jeff Dallas' Darlingtonia when he treated plants that were dying of 'root rot' with  Tebuconazole fungicide (Bayer Disease Control) and getting a 100% recovery rate. Those plants are still in quarantine well away from his commercial plants and will never be sold. Parts of them have been tested recently and Pythium is still present.

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Oh what a wonderful brand name.

 

If it was me I'd be tempted to try it on plants that may be infected to begin with and see how it goes.Others may advise going the whole hog but the 'beneficial bacteria' effect would put me off that.

 

I'd also get some 'infected' samples sent off for testing asap. 

Edited by FredG
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Please do not distort what was said Ady. Pythium is everywhere, however there have not been reports of carnivorous plants being infected with this pathogen in the UK on the fora. 

 

On the contrary, I have seen it in many collections, but not many people would recognise the sysmtoms
Was your hydroponics man  referring to carnivorous plants or something else? So far I have seen one confirmation of this pathogen infecting carnivorous plants in the UK and that is Mike's post today regarding his own collection  which suffered an attack nine years ago and it is apparently recurring. ( He has seen many attacks over the years.)

It's very difficult to research something that someone has kept secret. I can understand why due to commercial pressure. I repeat I can understand it but can't defend it. 

.

Just to clear this up Fred, I don't have recurring problems and when I meant'"Many Attacks", I have seen this in multiple collections. Last year. there were 6 plants affected in my own collection, this year zero. I have around 6,000 plants here so 0.1% and tackling head on is what growers do. What do you mean by "commercial pressure" ? Are you suggesting I have unhealthy plants now and also sell unhealthy plants?

Well you kept that quiet for nine years Mike.

No I didn't. You have only been here once and I pointed out the problems in 2006 open day. Other growers have had bad peat issues in the past and no one is immune from pests and diseases affecting plants in their collections, so I was keen to seek counsel from as may different growers and of course Defra.

Edited by Mike King
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Still here watching..........All this is very interesting and my knowledge of pythium has increased in the last four days considerably.

 

When you mention 'reachable surfaces' does that also mean the floor of the greenhouse?

 

Do you also clean out your water collecting devices including the tall towers, the house roof, gutters and everything else?

 

I want to learn all I can.

Hi Cez,

I jet wash with rain water every part of the greenhouse I can reach. Of course there will be some areas which the lance can't touch, but its only in awkward places where the bench is shielding part of the the frames.

The water butts (small ones)are cleaned out on average once a year, but they do get flushed by the high volumes of water. With collecting from the house roof, there are filter meshes in place so very little in detritus makes it past these diverters; they are from a rain harvesting system for grey water supply.

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Michael,

You may now claim to have seen it many times in other collections but was it reported to the community via the fora. If not then I am correct in what I said.

You say the problem is not recurring yet admit you also had plants with the pathogen last year. I would say that is a recurrence.

The peat issues reported on this and other fora are of contamination with nutrients, I do not regard Pythiium as a 'peat problem' even if it comes from a peat supply. The pathogen does not disappear when the potting medium is changed.

Yes I have been to you just the once and to be honest if I'd have known you'd had Pythium in there I would not have visited at all. Many of my plants are old friends and we've been together 30 years or so. I would not knowingly put them at risk. I do not suggest you sell unhealthy plants but there is a far bigger risk of a Pythium infection from your plants than from a source that has never had the infection or has had an infection and destroyed the infected plants or put them in permanent quarantine. As you admittedly have had the infection on more than one occasion and apparently not destroyed the plants and the pathogen cannot be cured then prudence must prevail and the proverbial barge pole used with discretion.

Is this an opportune moment to mention that I have cancelled my plans to attend your open day this year?

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Michael,

You may now claim to have seen it many times in other collections but was it reported to the community via the fora. If not then I am correct in what I said.

You say the problem is not recurring yet admit you also had plants with the pathogen last year. I would say that is a recurrence.

The peat issues reported on this and other fora are of contamination with nutrients, I do not regard Pythiium as a 'peat problem' even if it comes from a peat supply. The pathogen does not disappear when the potting medium is changed.

Yes I have been to you just the once and to be honest if I'd have known you'd had Pythium in there I would not have visited at all. Many of my plants are old friends and we've been together 30 years or so. I would not knowingly put them at risk. I do not suggest you sell unhealthy plants but there is a far bigger risk of a Pythium infection from your plants than from a source that has never had the infection or has had an infection and destroyed the infected plants or put them in permanent quarantine. As you admittedly have had the infection on more than one occasion and apparently not destroyed the plants and the pathogen cannot be cured then prudence must prevail and the proverbial barge pole used with discretion.

Is this an opportune moment to mention that I have cancelled my plans to attend your open day this year?

Fred,

I have no idea why you are on your high horse, you would make a very good barrister! I thought we were friends.

I am sorry you have to go on the attack and try to bring people down, but I guess that is in your nature. All I was trying to do was shed some light on how the to deal with the fungus and all I get is this.

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I simply meant perhaps you didn't think it was worth mentioning to the community as it was an isolated/rare/random case affecting only you.

Sorry, about 60 people saw something in 2006 on my open day. It was dealt with . Other people have had Pythium problems historically. Even big nurseries has had it. It is no big deal. If you care to check about certain peat brands not being good or reliable. But this outbreak that Ady reports has had nothing to do with me. The spores are in the air and can appear anywhere where the right conditions prevail.

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