Monday, May 18, 2009

Rusty Jack

It has been an unusually cool and damp spring here in Iowa, which may be the cause of the rusty jacks. I had never heard of arisaema rust, but today I noticed a large clump of native, black hooded jack in the pulpits whose leaves were crumpling, and looking closer saw numerous brown spots on the underside of the leaves and on the spathes (pulpits); obviously rust. A quick internet search showed that arisaema rust is a severe problem, and the only recommendation was to completely remove the plant; it is extremely contagious. Unfortunately a garden tour showed that about a third of the native jacks were infected, as were two of the Asian jacks, stately ringens and exotic iyoanum. I pulled all of them (flinching when I pulled up iyoanum), bagged and disposed of them... over a hundred plants, with the tubers on some of them being almost as big as a tennis ball.
There doesn't seem to be any reliable treatment, but I am going to look into a couple of specific fungicides; Bayleton and Serenade, and keep my fingers crossed that the rest of the Asian jacks don't develop this... if so, there will be much gloom in the garden here.

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I am so very sorry. These wonderful plants have provided you much enjoyment, and the rest of us much appreciation.

Last Summer I had to dig up only two very sick tricyrtis, and that little bit was very sad. You have my sympathy.
What a shame! I hope you can contain it. Good luck Don!
Oh my goodness what a loss! Can't believe that. I guess it doesn't pay to garden. Right.

Though part of the hobby of gardening is accepting the loss of plants, this loss is tragic. I'm sure it's taken you years to build up your collection of Jacks, and where the demise of one or two would be painful, to destroy over 100 of them must have been gut-wrenching. As a fellow plant nut, I feel your pain.

Oh no, Don, that's heartbreaking. I have always admired your arisaema collection. Here's hoping your quick action saved the ones that are left. Good luck!
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