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Sun Mar 24, 2013, 08:59 PM

Disease threatens garden impatiens

I'm glad I picked another plant for my flower beds!
Disease threatens garden impatiens
Surprising scientists and horticulturalists, once-mild downy mildew disease has struck the popular blooms in 33 states


By Susan Milius

A puzzling plant disease may dethrone one of the most popular and reliable flowerbed plants in North America, the garden impatiens.

A relatively benign condition known as impatiens downy mildew has recently turned ugly, for reasons under debate. For decades, U.S. gardeners rarely noticed downy mildew on their impatiens. But in the last two years, the disease has ravaged flower beds in some of the more humid parts of the country. After rain or fog followed by balmy nights, the disease can turn a lush flower border into a straggle of bare stalks that eventually collapse and die.

In recent years, aggressive impatiens downy mildew has flared up during disease-friendly weather in parts of Europe, South Africa and Australia. But the United States hadn’t seen more than a few scattered reports until widespread outbreaks began in 2011. By the end of 2012, pathologists had confirmed the disease in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

The disease is unlikely to eradicate the plants, but in some areas of the country, the risk can change a gardener’s mind about what to plant. Impatiens downy mildew “thrives in our coastal climate,” says plant pathologist Nancy Gregory of the University of Delaware cooperative extension program in Newark. In advice that would have been shocking a decade ago, she suggests gardeners skip impatiens unless willing to cope with the risk of an unsightly die-off.

More: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/349064/description/Disease_threatens_garden_impatiens

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Disease threatens garden impatiens (Original post)
csziggy Mar 2013 OP
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #1
csziggy Mar 2013 #2
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #3
csziggy Mar 2013 #4
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #5
csziggy Mar 2013 #6
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #7
csziggy Mar 2013 #8
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #9
csziggy Mar 2013 #10
ellenrr Apr 2013 #11
csziggy Apr 2013 #12
RILib Apr 2013 #13

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 04:36 PM

1. Oh no.

Impatiens are such nice plants for my partial shade in my back yard. The only other plant that does ok with flowers is begonia.

I might have to just do begonias this year, since I am not interested in taking any chances after all the work to plant them.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 04:45 PM

2. I know - I have a couple of spots I was considering

Planting impatiens someday. Not this year so I can wait to see what happens with this mildew. Probably they will find a treatment or find varieties that are resistant.

I'm ambiguous about impatiens, though. They don't seem to attract wildlife and the colors they come in don't excite me. But they make a nice ground cover in places where other things don't do well or flower and up till now they've been an easy low maintenance plant.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 04:53 PM

3. If you have a sunny area,

you have a lot of options besides impatiens. It is the shady areas that are very limited for flowering plants.

I would hold out for a resistant variety, because I am sure some will be better than what is available right now. Treatments are not my thing.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 05:20 PM

4. I've got all kinds of spaces - sunny, shady, partially both

I was thinking of the place in full shade under the live oaks for the impatiens but that area is loaded with wild blackberry canes that will have to be dug out and eradicated.

Right now I'm concentrating on the less problematic areas - the terraced beds right around the house, most of which get full sun, and the bed under the post oak that is not in full shade.

Everything went to weeds last year while I was getting my new knees installed. This year I am salvaging what survived the weeds, and trying to plant stuff that might be able to crowd out the weeds eventually.

On the south side, I dug out all the daylilies the deer have been eating and planted them in the top bed with the hope the deer won't come up that high to graze. I dug out all the paperwhites and African Iris - gave away a bunch of them and transplanted more.

Yesterday I planted 15 hybrid bandana lantana in the south bed; today five on the east and one one the west corner as an accent. A flat of salvia went in the window box and in the front bed for some color. I even found some agapanthus I didn't think had survived and transplanted them in that top bed.

I'm hoping the lantana will take over that south bed - they can get big here and I got the multicolor varieties so they should be really pretty. And deer won't eat them so that should help!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 05:27 PM

5. You are doing good, grasshopper.

It is great for you to get so much done......now if only the snow will get the hell out of here, I might get something done too.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 05:32 PM

6. I just wish the weather would settle

Yesterday it was mid 80s and I kept getting overheated. Today the high was about 60 and it was very breezy - we may get a light frost tonight or tomorrow night. That's why I pushed to get everything planted today!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 05:55 PM

7. Ah, mid 80s!

I would be happy with that 60 about now. But you are right, 60s are good for working in the garden and I would be pushing it at that temp too. Mid 80s, not so much.

Sounds like those new knees are doing well for you.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #7)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 07:39 PM

8. Later this year when I'm weeding in 90 F and 90% humidity

I will be wondering what I thought was so bad about mid 80s with low humidity! But I've got to build my tolerances back up.

The new knees are wonderful! So is the repaired right hand (carpal tunnel surgery and nerve repair in the elbow). Now to get the left hand fixed and to baby my bad back along until I can build up my muscles.

After over ten years of bone on bone it is lovely to be able to walk and to use my legs again.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 08:29 PM

9. Ain't that the truth.

I lived in Houston for years, and I can appreciate that 90F/90%. That was the time of year that I was done doing much outside. I tried to have a garden that was easy care in the middle of the summer.

Glad you are getting your body back. There is nothing worse than being restricted by pain that is hard to tolerate. Take care of yourself.....and don't push too hard in the middle of the summer.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 09:25 PM

10. I used to run a farm - I know how to pace myself in the heat

But I am older and my body is not as fit as it used to be so I have to take it a lot easier. I'm trying to get as much done now so all that has to be done in the hot part of the year is weed. I've got someone to do the mowing, so that's not a problem. if it comes down to it, I may pay someone to come weed about once a month to make sure it gets done.

Believe me, I don't plan to over do. I can't afford another injury or problem to deal with.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Sat Apr 6, 2013, 09:49 AM

11. I've had good result with vinca in the same location as I did impatience-

I don't know how to post a pic here, but here are pics:

http://www.picsearch.com/Vinca-pictures.html

I found them similiar to impatience - easy to grow, they spread to cover ground, nothing much bothers them, and they thrive in partial shade.

I will do them this year, while I see what the situation is with impatience. (which I really like)

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Response to ellenrr (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 6, 2013, 11:29 AM

12. Oh! Vincas would be nice alternative

Vinca minor even does decently in shade around here.

I've got one one bed to finish planting for this year - just need to order a load of mushroom compost and topsoil. I was going to do it Wednesday but it rained buckets and we didn't have enough sun yesterday to dry the ground out. Once the new soil is in the raised bed, I've got six azaleas to put in.

Hmmm. Vinca might be a good ground cover to fill in between the azaleas until they get big.

Vinca seems to be more attractive to wildlife than impatiens according to what I'm reading, so I'd like it better anyway.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 06:48 PM

13. crocodile tears

 

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