I have a plant growing outdoors from seed. From the height of 15 cm from the base, the plant is drying out. The drying has now traveled 15 cm up the stem.
I noticed a broken lower branch just above where the drying started. The entire plant is wilting now. It seems the dried out area is preventing the flow of water and nutrients to the remaining plant.
The two branches, just below the dried out area, are green and healthy, as is the main stalk up to that point. Will the plant re-grow if I cut off the upper portion? Did the lower broken branch cause this condition? When I cut the main stalk, what should I seal the wound with?
A cornborer, a type of caterpillar, entered the stem of the plant at the wound point, where the protective layers had been stripped away by the branch break. Once it got to the inner pith layer it started climbing the stem, stopping the flow of water and nutrients, which caused the wilt. The two lower branches are unaffected by the problems in the upper stem.
There is nothing you can do to save the upper portion except taking clones from the unwilted portions.
After you cut the upper portion of the stem, seal it with grafting wax or grafting seal. This prevents infections. The plant may grow new shoots from the nodes of the remaining branches.Tags: Outdoor growing | Ed Rosenthal | Diseases Edition: Soft Secrets 2011 - 5