Also known as Texas root rot or ozonium root rot, cotton root rot is a nasty fungal disease that can affect several highly susceptible members of the cactus family. The disease is a serious problem for growers in the southwestern United States. Can you save a cactus from root rot? Sadly, if your cactus has this root rot, there isn’t much you can do about this extremely destructive disease. Read on to learn more about cotton root rot in cactus.
Cacti and Cotton Root Rot
Cotton root rot in cactus generally shows up when the soil is warm between spring and early fall. The disease tends to spread through the soil slowly, but plant death occurs quickly when temperatures are high. Sometimes, even a healthy plant can wilt and die within three days.
Cactus cotton root rot symptoms include primarily severe wilt and discoloration. During the rainy season in midsummer, you may also notice a white or pale tan, pancake-like spore mat on the surface of the soil.
The surest way to determine if a cactus has root rot is to pull the dead plant from the soil. The plant will come loose easily, and you’ll see strands of woolly, bronze fungus on the surface of the roots.
Cactus Root Rot Repair: What to Do About Cotton Root Rot in Cactus
Unfortunately, there are no cures if your cactus has cotton root rot. Fungicides aren’t effective because the disease is soil-borne; roots grow beyond the treated area, where they soon become infected.
The best recourse is to remove dead and diseased cacti and replace them with plants that aren’t susceptible to this deadly pathogen. Plants that are generally immune to cotton root rot in cactus include: