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Posted:  29 Feb 2012 21:11  
Hi everyone,

We recently received a new shipment of dracaenas and every last one is getting black, shriveled, squishy stems and floppy/wilty heads. Does anyone have a good lab they can refer me to so I can get this diagnosed? The grower says it's not disease, but I'd like to get that confirmed by a third party.

Thanks!
Posted:  29 Feb 2012 22:47  
Gretchen,
You don't give many details (what cultivars, time frame between receipt of plants and appearance of symptoms, circumstances of your shipment and receiving it, how the plants were handled/re-shipped/installed after receiving them, etc.), so I can't really comment except to say that it sounds as if they were either severely cold-damaged in transit or a fast-moving root-and-stem rot disease is at work, maybe both.

A & L Southern Agricultural Labs (Lynn Griffith's firm) in Deerfield Beach, FL is the place to turn for answers: 954-571-2103

Clem
Posted:  29 Feb 2012 23:41  
I had the same thing happen to half a dozen 12" pots I had come in a few months ago.  Cordyline terminalis (don't know the variety, it was streaked with red), Dracaena 'compacta', Dracaena 'Lemon Lime'.... They started to turn black very rapidly from the bottom of the plant to the top.

It was cold-damage.  Too bad, they were gorgeous plants too.
Posted:  03 Apr 2012 01:49  
We're in Alaska, and know from lots and lots of experience that what we were seeing wasn't cold damage. It was both Dracaena 'Massangeana' and Dracaena 'Lisa' that were affected - but only the 10" 5-6' tall plants. All the dracaenas 4' and shorter came in perfect health, so we were pretty sure it wasn't a shipping issue, either.

We finally sent some samples down to the University of Florida plant diagnostic lab, and they confirmed Fusarium in both the roots and stem. We've been able to save a few of them with the appropriate fungicide, but unfortunately the rest of the crop are not usable.

Thanks for you comments, guys!
Posted:  03 Apr 2012 03:47  
Fusarium is generally saprophytic, meaning it feeds on dead or dying plant matter.  Some fusarium will cause diseases themselves, but often they are a secondary infection of distressed or damaged tissues.  Hard to say at this point which applies to your case, but the results are equally bad for you regardless.  Better luck next time...maybe your supplier can give some credit towards replacements?

Clem

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