Pythium and Sarracenia


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Checked that plant of mine and no blotches. I'm reluctant to open the plant up for investigation and removal of the parts effected as I don't want to release the pathogen into the air. I'll keep a close eye on it to see if more of it goes wrong and if so I'll chuck it in the bin.

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 18537729446_80b082445c_z.jpg

sample of one of the many Pitchers affected by the Pythium outbreak

Were the spots there before or after you sprayed them with anything. from what I have seen Pythium leaves pale brown patches at the damaged area.

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Typed pythiam into search engine and found the following on a hydroponics forum/ website, not sure if it is also ment for CP's :

Pythium is a waterborne fungus and re-circulating Hydroponic systems provide it with an ideal environment in which to live and breed. Plants can survive and grow with high levels of inoculum in the nutrient solution. The fungus however will restrict the root system. A sudden rise in temperature will find the plants unable to increase their uptake of water and they will wilt. For many growers this is the first sign that Pythium is active in their system.

What is Pythium?

Pythium root rot can be caused by several different species of the fungus Pythium. There is also a number of similar pathogenic organisms that can attack the roots of plants in Hydroponic system. For the horticulturalist and for the purposes of this brief article, the term Pythium is used generically, to describe fungal organisms of the Pythium family and others that behave in a similar way. These fungi are common in field soils, sand or sediment of surface water supplies, and dead roots of previous crops. Pythium is easily introduced into Hydroponic systems by using dirty tools, by introducing infected plant material, or, most commonly, by way of the raw water supply. When introduced into re-circulating Hydroponic system such as Flood & Drain or NFT, Pythium can cause severe root rot because it has few competitors to check its activity. It can procreate easily in the warm conditions and transmit its spores very quickly throughout the system.

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Were the spots there before or after you sprayed them with anything. from what I have seen Pythium leaves pale brown patches at the damaged area.

This pitcher was not sprayed with the weedkiller. This is whats been happening with all the plants affected by pythium.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest GazCez

Hi there everyone that has been waiting with baited breath for the results of the pythium testing on the sarrcaenia.
 

I will briefly outline what was sent and the results.

I sent two samples of sarracenia and the substrate they were stood in to Stockbridge Technology Centre -

Sample A - Stockbridge asked for a healthy plant that was stood in the polytunnel directly next to the affected plant that Ady sent back to me.

Sample B - The affected plant with the wilted pitcher.


Root samples were taken from both plants and stood in separate aqueous fluid overnight to see what formed. Sample A showed no pythium at all but interestingly showed a non pathenogenic fusarium harmless to the plant.

Sample B formed mycelium that could not be identified but was also not pythium. It was mentioned that the use of pesticides could have degraded the sample.

So on to round two of the testing....The substrate the plants were stood in. This took a little over a week to do.

Sample A showed a 'pythium like' form which wasn't  pythium but showed similar structures. They were unable to identify what it actually was. Either way no pythium again. 

Sample B showed a completely different to the above 'pythium like' form. It was a non pathenogenic pythium and would normally occur naturally anyway according to the plant pathologist I spoke to.

 

So what can be seen overall in these results and can we actually learn anything from what has occurred?

 

Without being biased and going through it all I will let the results stand for themselves. Have I actually learned anything? Yes. Plant testing is expensive. I also now know enough about pythium (a thing I'd never ever heard of) to last me a lifetime. I hope I never hear the word again.

 

 

 

 


 

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Very interesting results Ceri, so it's not Pythium and it's nothing to do with you I think you are owed a very long and heartfelt  public apology.

The problem as originally diagnosed by the wisest (cough*) is based in Ady's environment so now we have to find out what that is. Let's try a slow elimination, I'm  sort of remembering Ady has more than the one greenhouse. Is it possible that there are reflections from one causing hot spots in areas of the large one? This would affect new growth and not the mature pitchers.

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Guest GazCez

Alexis - the peat I used was Clover Sphagnum peat in the bog bales. The same brand I have succesfully used for several decades.

 

Thanks for the support Fred. Maybe if we do a proper study of all that has happened then we could provide better living conditions for our plants in general. There's no point keeping these things quiet. Plant pathogens are out there so we need to find methods of control in the absence of a cure.

 

Pythium is a hard one to control so that leaves improving the environmental conditions as best we can. I dare say we could all do with an overhall of how we keep our plants even if we have no problems.

 

For a start what is pythium and how does it function in the environment that we keep our carnivorous plants? Also let's make it easy language for the non scientifically minded like myself.

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The results (a copy of which I have yet to receive), showed "pythium-like structures"  which  the scientist was unable to accurately identify what it was. So to say it definately wasn't pythium is, I would suggest, unwise.

 

The 2 greenhouses are not side by side, they are different sides of the garden, so reflections from one to the other are unlikely, although I do accept, not impossible.

 

Peat: For years I have used shamrock. However, last year I changed to a brand called McCanns. Its and Irish company and I have used this peat during the last year. The thing I did notice is alot of the pots started having springy looking weeds growing and I was forever pulling them out etc. Other than that, no real problems.

 

Since this issue with "pythium", I have changed back to Shamrock and re-potted everything, so we'll just have to wait until next year to see how things develop.

 

Has anyone else ever used this McCanns Irish Moss Peat, and if so, have any issues arised?

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It must be very disheartening to pay a small fortune to have your plants tested and then an 'expert' doesn't even know what the problem is ?

I couldnt agree more. To be charged the prices that you are, I would have thought that with todays scientific experts, they should at least be able to come up with more definitive answers.

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Guest GazCez

Noone ever said that plant testing was cheap! And I'm saying that from the perspective of being the person paying in this instance.

 

Also we are not talking about DNA but plant pathogens. There are millions of plant pathogens out there some of which are yet to be discovered or identified. Scientists can only do so much in their testing and we are living the world of non CSI tv land. Although didn't Gil Grissom in CSI: Vegas state in the show that "the science doesn't lie"?

 

It's a shame there aren't a few more collectors out there willing to discuss their stories even if it is non pythium related. Whether they successfully treated the affected plants. Or alternatively be brave and say whether they think they contributed to the problem (or not!) in the way that they grew their plants.  Whether it's air flow problems, the trays they stand in, whether they use capillary matting, bug infestations they could have prevented but ignored, or just novice ignorance!

 

It would be great to hear some stories. Especially something that could put a smile on our faces while we learn the scientific aspects of a hobby that can be quite challenging indeed!

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It happens to everyone Ceri,at least you know your plants are healthy,you have done all you can to prove it,you can hold your heads up anywhere.

You have nothing to hide and have discuss all the problem out in the open,without holding back anything.

To make you smile,i have had bad peat issues Twice,vine weevils,leather jackets once each, aphids only on the vft's though and 70 odd plants froze to death in the bad winter.

i said to make you smile not laugh!

ada

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Guest GazCez

Thanks Adrian for the kind words again.

 

And also thank you for breaking up the topic with your horror stories! Now the 70 odd plants freezing to death could be a good topic of discussion albeit a very sad loss for you. Was it that awful Winter in 2010 to 2011? The same year we had the great paraffin fire in the greenhouse and I had to scrub, repot and look at the crispy flytraps?

 

I have had experience of sarracenia freezing in their pots circa 2005 (ish) when we first got the polytunnel. I stupidly left the trays with water in them over winter. Maybe I had done something lax like watering from above to keep them damp in the winter. Either way the sarracenia froze in their pots to the extent that I could pick them up via the pitchers. The substrate was so solid and frozen it was brick hard.

 

So Spring came and we waited anxiously to see what had survived. Pretty much everything and they looked completely great! Weird stuff.

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cold doesn't affect them that much,they are pretty tough.Just some species are more prone to its affect.

I have just picked up on a small point you and ady touch on earlier,now this might cause upset again but needs saying

you have paid for your plants to be tested but ady said he hasn't had a copy of the results,did he share the costs?

this is not a get at anyone question,just a fair question.

If he shared the costs,he deserves a copy of the report.If not he has to go on what you say.If you bare all the cost,worry,hassle and no doubt other sh** you have had to endure it should be good enough.

If he pays his half then he deserves the full report to put his mind at rest and end this topic which i think is now getting a bit ridiculous.

Everyone needs to learn from it and move on,accept something has happened in ady's greenhouse beyond his control and knowledge that we all need to be aware of.

ada

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Just to finish off the discussion. Spoke to the guy at Stockbridge today and was told the following:

 

On both samples of Sarracenia that were sent in, NO trace of pythium was found.

 

On the substrate that was sent in, he said this: "On the good sample sent in, a pythium like organism was found in the substrate, although this was not considered pathogenic as the plant appeared healthy (ie not showing any signs of wilt tc).

 

However, on the unhealthy sample sent in (mine) he found evidence of a pythium infection and as such is likely to be pathogenic (being as the plant was showing signs of infection ie wilt).

 

Following a lengthy discussion, it was said that although the healthy sample only showed "a pythium like organism", it may be the situation that once that plant is transferred to a new location, with different growing conditions, it MAY (not definately) be the case that the pythium like organism then develops further. However, he did confirm that without further testing it was not possible to confirm this either way.

 

I also asked him about Pythoff, and he has passed my query on to a colleague of his, who will contact me back at some stage to advise me wether or not this product is likely to be any good in surpressing or treating pythium. There are no active ingredients within the product to treat pythium.

 

There is a product out there which is effective - but this is only available to commercial growers and costs thousands of pounds. The chap at Stockbridge confirmed to me there is absolutely nothing available for the hobbyist to eradicate or prevent pythium.

 

I will be sending, at my expense, further samples from some plants from all around my greenhouse to see what comes back.

 

I hope now this matter can be closed and as Ada says above, we should all move on.

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