Bacterial Soft Rot

Bacteria cause only a few diseases in plants. One of these, bacterial soft rot, has occasionally been found in  hostas in the landscape or in plant nurseries. Generally, some type of wound is needed for the bacteria to enter so this disease may show up after an unusually cold winter involving more than average heaving and thawing in clay soils. Excessively cold temperatures used in some nurseries to simulate cold dormancy may also encourage this disease.

As the name implies, the disease causes a watery, mushy rot of the underground crown. Like a similar rot that occurs in Iris, tissue infect with this disease emit a characteristic odor resembling dead fish.

IF bacterial soft rot is diagnosed by a university or other plant diagnostic laboratory, infected plants need to be destroyed. Also, if tools such as knives or pruners are used, they should be disinfected with a 10% bleach solution before being used on other plants.

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