Texas Root Rot Riot

Texas Root Rot Riot

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Texas Root Rot Riot
This is getting ridiculous. I have now lost my third mature tree in two years. You would think by working in a nursery I would have a better track record. Between my knowledge and my co-worker’s knowledge (not to mention every fertilizer and pesticide at my fingertips), I shouldn’t lose even one tree let alone three.

To be fair to myself, I only actively killed one of those trees, Tree #2. Tree #1 was a huge California Pepper Tree, which was messy but provided a great deal of shade. Then the Big Freeze of February 2011 struck Tucson, decimating trees, shrubs and cacti like never before. Tucsonans lost a lot of plants in that freeze and my Pepper was one of them.

I take full responsibility for Tree #2. My Fan-Tex Ash, which I’ve written about previously, ultimately died from borers. This could have been prevented had I watered the tree properly and taken care of the borers sooner. So #2 is on me.

What breaks my heart is Tree #3. The first tree my husband and I ever planted, our Green Gage Plum, went from gorgeous to dead in three weeks. At first I thought it was reacting to the June heat, but it proceeded to turn brown until it was all brown. What could possibly kill a mature tree that quickly?

Texas Root Rot.

I’ve heard of this disease before, but have never felt its wrath. Apparently, it lives in our soil, dormant until some unlucky tree or plant sucks it up. Not only that, but it can attack any plant (non-natives are more susceptible) and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just another challenge of desert gardening.

by Cara Bohardt, Desert Gardener

Have you experienced Texas Root Rot?