Olive Bailey Langdon not doing well - root problems?

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Olive Bailey Langdon not doing well - root problems?

Postby jerryshenk » Sep 17, 2016 10:35 am

We planted an Olive Bailey Langdon in 2013 expecting it to turn into this huge, specimen. Well, it didn't do too well and this year, it's still doing poorly so I dug it up. It's expanded to 5 plants so, it's not dead but the roots feel funny, kindof lifeless, limp and dry. There are also a bunch of old, disconnected, dead roots around it. Some of the roots like they have white spider webs on them - I'm guessing that's southern blight...maybe not, I don't claim to be very knowledgeable about this stuff...I'm just fumbling around and having a bit of success.

5 individual plants

ImageOlive Bailey Langdon isn't growing, roots look odd. by Jerry Shenk, on Flickr

One closeup

ImageOlive Bailey Langdon isn't growing, roots look odd. by Jerry Shenk, on Flickr
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Olive Bailey Langdon not doing well - root problems?

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Re: Olive Bailey Langdon not doing well - root problems?

Postby Chris_W » Sep 18, 2016 9:49 pm

Hi,

There could be a couple things going on here that could be part of the reasons why it is doing poorly.

First the plant appears to be planted extremely deep. While deep plantings themselves don't kill hostas, if the soil that deep is compacted then the plants become oxygen starved and struggle. Also water has a harder time getting that deep and they become more drought stressed. In time a hosta will establish a new crown higher up, but this plant hasn't had a chance to really start doing that.

The other issue could have been with some kind of crown rot, possibly Fusarium rot which favors dry conditions and then gets into the crown itself. Often some eyes are able to fight it off but you will see brown leaf edges in mid to late summer indicating that the Fusarium is damaging the roots and crown. Southern Blight, on the other hand, only affects the surface of the plant, basically rotting stems, and has absolutely nothing to do with the plant parts under the ground, so that isn't an issue here.

So taking the second item into account I think that the roots were drying out too much. Again, that could be a depth issue that wasn't allowing water to get that deep. Make sure you aren't planting things this deep or mulching this deep. Larger hostas light Olive Bailey Langdon can be about 1" to even 2" deep but don't go deeper. And keep the mulch depth as part of the overall depth and don't add more than an inch right around the hostas. For most miniature hostas you don't want more than about 1/4" deep.

I hope that helps a bit, and good luck with your five plants.

Chris
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Re: Olive Bailey Langdon not doing well - root problems?

Postby jerryshenk » Sep 19, 2016 6:30 am

Thanks, Chris. I dig 'em up and replanted them in a different location and not as deep. Now, we wait.
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