Treating Root Rot

Treating Root Rot

Part of Ep. 1102 Root of the Problem

Tackle root rot in the garden with certified arborist Bruce Allison.

Premiere date: Jun 25, 2003

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
I have root rot in my tree in my backyard. And this is how I found out. I sent the roots into Brian's lab and I received this letter back and an Extension fact sheet on root rot. So in the letter Brian recommends that I hire a professional pesticide applicator to make fungicide applications to try to save my tree. There are two ways to find a professional pesticide applicator. You need a certified Arborist. You can go to your local County Extension Office, they have a list of local certified arborists. And on the list I happened to see Bruce Allison's name of Allison Tree Care, and I've worked with Bruce before and he's worked frequently with Extension and with Brian Hudelson. So, Bruce thank you for coming out in this quest to save my tree. This is all new to me, I really was depressed to find out I had root rot. What are we going to do now?

Bruce Allison:
Well it's great to be here number one Shelley. You've got a beautiful yard.

Shelley:
Thank you.

Bruce:
And I'd like to do all I can to help save that very valuable Sugar Maple you have back there.

Shelley:
When they're this size, it's hard to just plop a new tree in there overnight.

Bruce:
Exactly. You're certainly not alone. This root crown rot is a very common problem, often not properly diagnosed, but we do have a good diagnosis, that's the first step. You want to know precisely what pathogen you're dealing with. We're dealing with a soil-borne pathogen called Phytophthora.

Shelley:
Now that sounds scary.

Bruce:
Well, it's a big long name, but all of the plant pathology names are big and long. But it's certainly treatable. We have a good fungicide to be able to treat it.

Shelley:
Okay.

Bruce:
So I've selected the fungicide that's appropriate, I've already purchased that material and have brought it onto your site right now. As a licensed applicator in the state of Wisconsin is in charge of the licensing program for any commercial pesticide applicator, I have several responsibilities. Number one, I need to check the registry which is a listing of all the people who have called into the Department of Agriculture to ask that any treatment on their neighbors property they be pre-notified.

Shelley:
Oh, great idea.

Bruce:
Exactly. And I've looked up your address, and there is no one who has called into the registry. So that's clear, number one.

Shelley:
Okay.

Bruce:
Number two, when I come out here, the first thing I need to do is put up pesticide warning signs. There are placards which simply state that a pesticide application has been made and it's required that people stay off for the next 24 hours. It's a warning to third parties or other people who are coming to visit your property that this area has been treated. I put up three signs, there are three points of entry, so throughout here, so that should cover anybody who comes in here for the next 24 hours. You can remove that placard 24 hours from now.

Shelley:
Do I have to be careful then of my pets, my child? How serious is this?

Bruce:
Well, you always want to know exactly what you're dealing with, and the Environmental Protection Agency has created a label for all of the pesticides that are used. This is a copy of that label and be sure to always ask your applicator for a copy of that label.

Shelley:
Okay.

Bruce:
That label tells you many important things. Number one, it identifies precisely what the material is.

Shelley:
Now this will vary from disease to disease too. This is specific to my tree.

Bruce:
This is specific to the particular pesticide that I've chosen to treat your tree. It gives you directions for use, it gives you general information. It tells you the environmental hazards that might be associated with this. It points out if there is a re-entry period required. Certain pesticides you cannot re-enter that area for a specified period of time, be it a few days, a few hours, a week, whatever it might be.

Shelley:
So you really need to pay attention to this label.

Bruce:
Pay attention to that label. It's a very important component of the application process. In this particular case, there is no re-entry interval. So you might re-enter it as soon as the dust has settled. On the other hand as a homeowner concerned about your dogs, it's always okay to be extra cautious.

Shelley:
Err on the side of caution.

Bruce:
Precisely, but you always minimally want to do what the label tells you to.

Shelley:
Okay.

Bruce:
This also tells precisely the dosage that's appropriate for this particular tree, for this particular problem.

Shelley:
Okay.

Bruce:
And so I have decided what the dosage is. I've made measurements in this area around your tree so I know precisely how many square feet I'll be treating. I'll be using a drop spreader to be able to spread the granulars over this particular area, and I've already calibrated that spreader so I know precisely how much material is leaving for every foot that I walk.

Shelley:
This is why you hire a professional for this.

Bruce:
It's always a good idea to make sure it's done carefully and properly.

Shelley:
Safely.

Bruce:
Because number one you want to be safe and number two you want to have the proper results. Now as I take a look at your particular site, I see that there's a bird bath over here. I think it's always a good idea when you have a bird bath to dump the water, turn it upside down so now dust might end up in there. Secondly I note that you have some beautiful planting beds here.

Shelley:
A little weedy this time of year!

Bruce:
But it is not an easy area to walk over with the drop spreader so with your permission I will walk over that area with the drop spreader so I might have a consistent dosage of material over the treated area. It shouldn't have any adverse effect on the plants and they should bounce back up after I go over.

Shelley:
If they've survived the dog chasing the squirrels it shouldn't be a problem. Go ahead with this.

Bruce:
Sounds good, Shelley.

Shelley:
And when you're done with the spreader, are there any other steps?

Bruce:
Yes, and then next I bring a hose out, and I'll just use your water, the tap straight from the house, and I will wet down that area which will activate the material and start the process of this systemic fungicide entering the root systems and starting the process of protecting your tree.

Shelley:
And then I'm assuming I will know next year if my tree is cured or not?

Bruce:
I would think that as early as next year we might have a change in the symptoms. Now it took a long time for your tree to arrive at the point that it did.

Shelley:
Yes it did.

Bruce:
It's truly a decline problem where every year we have an increase in the Phytophthora fungus damage on the tree. If we can stop the Phytophthora, the tree should be able to recover over time. So I would hope to see an improvement next year and I would like to have a continuation of that improvement. If we take a look at it next year, and it's always a good idea to have a follow-up, we can re-test if appropriate, we can actually re-treat, that's an option for us.

Shelley:
Depending on what we need.

Bruce:
Depending upon the results.

Shelley:
Great, well I've got great hopes then. Thanks Bruce.

Bruce:
Good, thanks Shelley.

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