plant diseases

  • Honey fungus: The tree killer

     

    Honey fungus

    The honey-coloured fruiting bodies of honey fungus (Armillaria spp) (image: Wikimedia Commons)

    Honey fungus or Armillaria are a group of parasitic fungi. They attack trees, shrubs and woody perennials, and are one of the most destructive fungal diseases in the UK.

    They are also among some of the biggest living organisms in the world, their underground networks often covering many miles and living for up to a thousand years.

    It is so successful because, unlike most parasites that rely on keeping their hosts alive in order to extract nutrients, it can kill its host and continue living on the decaying matter for many years. Watch our video on how to diagnose honey fungus

    The fungi spread by long reddish brown root-like rhizomorphs that live close to the surface of the soil.

    They attach themselves to the root collar of woody plants, killing off the root systems leaving the host unable to absorb nutrients and water. You can watch our video on how to diagnose honey fungus
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  • Identify Sudden Oak Death - Phytophthora ramorum

    The fungus behind sudden oak death or SOD, Phytophthora ramorum, is a new disease outbreak, first recorded in the early 1990's. In America, it has had a potent effect on their local Oaks (Quercus group). In Europe, it mainly attacks other unrelated plants, especially: Rhodedendron. Camellia. Peiris. Larch. Ornamental viburnums...
  • Were you a Derby Day loser?

    We get a few enquiries about box blight from customers (and non-customers) who are worried that their box hedging might have contracted the dread disease. When we are sent samples only about a quarter prove to be suffering from box blight which probably means that it is not as serious...
  • Photinia Leaf Spot - Don't Panic!

    Photinia Red Robin makes a really photogenic hedge plant, with blazing red young leaves that can be persuaded to reappear all summer with regular trimming and simple but lovely white flowers. However, just as the most handsome face can be marred by acne, the prettiest Photinia bush can can be...
  • Lavender Diseases - There Really are Some!

    I read an article the other day which claimed that lavender is immune to disease, a quality that is linked to its healing properties. I'm the first to hop in a bath infused with lavender when I need a break and I am certain that the relaxation it gives me is...

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