Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mares Eat Oats and DoesEat Oats and Little Fungi Eat Ivy

 Question:
I have very tall hedge of ivy serving as the fence between my neighbor and me, a bit higher than my one-story Spanish house.  The ivy was probably planted in the 1920's.

A large section, about 4-5 wide, and about 8 feet tall,  has died.  The rest of the hedge looks healthy.  I have to continually keep it from invading the flower beds around my house.

Any idea what causes the ivy to die back?  I planted bougainvillea in the hopes that it will cover the dead branches. Not sure if the ivy will recover first or the blight will spread to rest of the ivy hedge.

Ann

Hi Ann,
There are three common ivy diseases: stem rot -caused by the fungus, Rhizoctonia solani; anthracnose -caused by the fungus Colletotrechum omnivorum, and bacterial leaf spot which is caused by a Xanthomas bacteria.
However, the bottom line to remember is that all three of these diseases are associated with too much water in the soil or on the leaves.
This means that your the first thing you have to do is cut your watering frequency to once once or twice a week (which you should be doing anyway if you live anywhere in Southern California during this drought) and make sure you are watering in th early morning hours only so that water doesn't have a chance to stand on the leaves and make a perfect incubator for the above mentioned leaf spotting organisms. 
You might also want to spray the entire area in the early summer with a copper fungicide. This will help cut down the amount of spores that are available to re-infect your ivy. Remember to re-apply it after it rains. 

Cheers,   Frank

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