How to Protect Garden Mums against Soilborne Diseases

Garden mums are a hardy and resilient species for growers. However, despite their durability, the growing climate of the summer season brings with it a supportive environment for infections by way of soilborne pathogens to thrive, such as Fusarium and Pythium. These types of conditions during summer include: 

  • Direct sunlight on containers 
  • Frequent rainfall leading to extreme moisture fluctuations 
  • High temperatures 

Altogether, this leads to a greater risk of damaged roots, which in turn creates a suitable target for infection. 

Symptoms of Fusarium Infections: 

Fusarium Root and Stem Rot 'Fusarium oxysporum' from Syngenta Flowers

Fusarium rot (Fusarium oxysporum) | Syngenta Flowers

  • Internal vascular discoloration is evident 
  • Plants exhibit a one-sided wilt 
  • Root rot may not be evident 
  • Wilted foliage is colored gray-green 
  • Wilt and foliar discoloration progress; leaves turn yellow-brown 

Symptoms of Pythium Infections: 

Pythium root and stem rot 'Pythium aphanidermatum' from Syngenta Flowers

Pythium rot (Pythium aphanidermatum) Syngenta Flowers

  • Foliage in the lower canopy turns yellow 
  • Plants are pale green in color 
  • Plants become stunted and fail to recover 
  • Roots are dark brown, soft, and wet
  • Shows signs of wilt during the day, recovering at night

According to Syngenta Flowers, the best way to provide protection for plants against Furasium and Pythium is by “combining proper cultural practices with an effective fungicide rotation program.” Some examples of cultural preparation include: 

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  • Clean and sanitize growing areas extensively between crop groups 
  • Elevating pots in low areas to prevent excess water pooling 
  • Immediate and thoroughly dispose of diseased/infected plants to limit spread 
  • Properly space out plants to provide adequate air movement 

For additional details on garden mum disease protection and prevention, as well as recommended fungicide program products, please consult the original white paper “Protecting Garden Mums Against Soilborne Diseases” commissioned by Syngenta Flowers, as well as the company’s slideshow for a successful Mum Agronomic Program. 

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