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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Tuesday - July 21, 2009

From: Channahon, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Fungal root rot in non-native Shasta daisies in Channahon IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

HELP! My Shasta daisies have fungal root rot. Is there any way to save them? I've been removing the browned stems. I'm so sad.

ANSWER:

Shasta daisy, Leucanthum vulgare x superbum is native to Turkey, Russia and Europe. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.

Since we have no information on this plant in our Native Plant Database, we will try to find some information on the fungal root rot, itself. From the NGA Garden Shop website, we found the information that Shasta daisies need full sun and well-drained soil. You didn't say how long you had been raising the flowers or what your soil is, but if you have a clay soil, or poorly draining soil, these plants either need compost worked into their soil for drainage, or a raised bed. If they are in shade or part shade, that just encourages the fungus even more. From the University of Illinois Extension website, we obtained this information on Armillaria Root Rot. While this article emphasizes fungal attacks on woody plants, trees and shrubs, it points out that herbaceous blooming plants can also be affected.

We would suggest you contact the University of Illinois Extension Office for either Grundy or Will counties.  If this is an ongoing problem in your area because of the soils, they should have some advice to offer you. Or maybe just sympathy. We are sorry, too.

 

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