Help My Rhubarb Plant

Q: I am having trouble with my rhubarb this year. It started out great and then I noticed I was not able to "pop" out the stalks; instead they would break off 2 or 3 inches from the bulb. Now the stalks are very long and thin with huge leaves and they are breaking off and rotting. I did notice quite a few ants by the bulbs which seems unusual to me as we have had so much rain.
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Hardiness Zone: 6b

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

mi3kids from Slate Hill, NY

A: mi3kids,

I'm afraid your wet weather has probably been the cause of troubles for your rhubarb plants. Wet conditions can cause the plants to wilt and the roots to rot. There are three different species of fungi that cause crown rot. The infection usually shows up at the base of the stalks or just below the soil surface. In more severe cases the stalks develop lesions and appear brown and sunken, and the leaves may appear wilted and have water spots. Rotted crown tissue is usually firm and brown, but it can turn mushy if bacterial rot takes hold. In severe cases, plants that experience crown rot will die. If treated early with a fungicide, infected plants can often be saved. Hopefully your unusually wet weather will prove to be an anomaly; otherwise you may want to relocated your plants to higher ground or raise them up on mounds for next year. In your case, it sounds like you rhubarb is just exhibiting the signs of stress from excess moisture. In the meantime, remove any portions that appear rotted and keep your eyes open for signs of root rot.

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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June 13, 20060 found this helpful

My dad, who is in horticulture, said it prob. has to much water this year. It may have root rot.

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June 13, 20060 found this helpful

I have the same problems with my rhubarb this year.

I usally have pretty good crops - I think it is because we've had so much rain this year.

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