Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Pachysandra, Use Proper Herbicide

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Pachysandra, Use Proper Herbicide

Article excerpt

Q. I have a large hillside plot of pachysandra, roughly 40 by 15 feet. Last spring it had a fungus due to the wet weather. I treated it with a fungicide (Daconil) and cut the pachysandra back with hedge clippers to allow better air circulation. It recovered except for two sizable patches, which still have not filled in. Also, for the first time the entire plot -- not just the bare spots -- became infested with several types of common weeds, including crabgrass, dandelions, etc.

I pulled them by hand last summer, but I am looking for a way to kill the weeds without harming the pachysandra. Can you recommend anything? Also, should I replant the bare spots or will they come back on their own?

A. It sounds as though you took the proper steps to get the disease under control. Most likely the planting was suffering from volutella blight, the most common fungal disease that affects pachysandra. This disease starts as discrete tan or brown spots that eventually merge together and kill the entire leaf. You may notice concentric line patterns in the spots that resemble a bull's-eye.

Volutella will progress from the leaves down to the stems, and as happened in your bed, large patches of pachysandra can be killed. Management includes treatment with a fungicide such as Daconil (chlorothalonil) and thinning the planting to improve air circulation. It is also helpful to water during hot, dry weather to avoid drought stress. Watering is best done in the morning so that the foliage dries quickly. If you water in the evening, the foliage stays wet overnight, creating a favorable environment for volutella to start again.

The weeds probably were able to take hold because of the bare areas and because you thinned the patch out. Weeds have a much harder time becoming established in dense plantings, whether a ground cover bed or a lawn. …

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