What’s Wrong With My Ginseng – Learn About Ginseng Disease Control

Diseased Ginseng Plant
(Image credit: Forest Farming)

For many, the process of growing ginseng is quite an exciting endeavor. Whether grown in containers at home or planted en masse as a means of income, this rare plant is highly prized - so much so, that many states have strict regulations about the growth and sale of ginseng root. Before growing ginseng, gardeners can learn more about the specific laws in their states by contacting their local agriculture extensions and natural resources department.

Growing from rather expensive seeds, it is easy to imagine that growers may become quite alarmed when faced with sick ginseng plants.

Troubleshooting Ginseng Diseases

Though ginseng can be cultivated throughout much of the United States, there are several plant disease issues that may occur. Like many plants, ginseng requires very specific growing conditions in order to truly thrive. When these conditions are not met, this may lead to various fungal issues. Sudden symptoms may leave growers to wonder, “What’s wrong with my ginseng?”.

Common Diseases of Ginseng

Among the most common ginseng diseases are alternaria blight and phytophthora.

Alternaria blight presents itself in the form of dark circular spots on the ginseng foliage and lesions at the base of the plant’s stem. As the disease progresses, plants may prematurely begin to lose their leaves, or even completely collapse as the stem weakens. This will cause a decrease in the plant’s root production, and ultimately, smaller yields in the future at harvest time.

Another fungal disease, phytophthora, is caused by the fungus called Phytophthora cactorum. Much like alternaria blight, phytophthora will often first manifest in the form of irregular leaf spotting. Damaged leaves may dry and fall from the plant. This fungal disease may cause the roots of the plant to begin to rot, resulting in plant loss.

Ginseng Disease Control

When it comes to ginseng disease control, there are a few options for growers. While those growing ginseng for commercial purposes may be able to use fungicides to control these issues, such fungicides are not commonly available to home growers.

Home growers are able to combat these forms of blight by maintaining proper garden sanitation. Plants that show signs of diseases should be removed and destroyed. To prevent the further spread of the disease, all tools and equipment should be cleaned.

In addition to these methods, care at planting time will help to prevent the development of these fungal issues. Ensuring that plants are spaced adequately will allow proper air circulation to be achieved. This, in tandem with a well-draining planting site, will help to avoid root rot and other foliar diseases.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.