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 Post subject: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 25, 2020 10:00 pm 
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Does anyone know what would make Rhubarb leaves turn red like this? Normally I would think it was a fall color change, but this is June. Could it be lack of water? Over harvesting? Stress? Disease? Sun burn?

I did find the following link talking about a bacteria Erwinia rhapontici aka. red leaf, but I have not found images that support the diagnosis.
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/leaves-rh ... 97781.html

I also found there is an ornamental variety called Ace of Hearts, but the colors are inverted
http://www.savor-the-rhubarb.com/ace-of-hearts.html

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 26, 2020 7:10 am 
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I did some internet searches too. You are right it is hard to find images that would link what you are seeing to a specific disease/issue.

But based on the descriptions from various sites, it sure does sound like it is the Erwinia rhapontici bacteria. Some sites call it red leaf disease and others call it crown rot. But whatever it is called, it looks like a very bad problem, I'm sorry to say.

If it is the Erwinia rhapontici bacteria, all the sites I looked at say the plant needs to be destroyed (do not compost) and the surrounding soil disposed of "properly" as the Erwinia rhapontici bacteria can live in the soil infinitely.

Big Bummer :cry: :( :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 26, 2020 12:27 pm 
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CooknThyme wrote:
If it is the Erwinia rhapontici bacteria, all the sites I looked at say the plant needs to be destroyed (do not compost) and the surrounding soil disposed of "properly" as the Erwinia rhapontici bacteria can live in the soil infinitely.


That is my fear. I am wondering if we can salvage salvage uninfected plants and move them to a different bed. As for that bed, it sounds like you can't get rid of it. Removing the soil would be a big task.


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 26, 2020 1:00 pm 
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Ut oh. I thought you had your rhubarb growing in whiskey barrels. No? :thud:

One of the sites I was looking at (sorry can't remember which but I think it was an extention service) said to remove other rhubarb plants into their own separate containers and basically cross fingers that they are not infected too. Being careful not to plant the crown too deep, have very good drainage, and no overwatering.

As for the soil in the garden bed, the same site said to only plant things not as susceptible to the Erwinia family of bacteria and it named some (which included cruciferous) but can't remember what else was on the list.

I'm so sad this happened to you. :cry:
What a bummer.


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 27, 2020 4:54 pm 
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off topic, but when we moved in here, there was a rhubarb plant that would NOT die. I dug it up TWICE and gave it away only for it to sprout up again. It has to be well over 10 years old but kept coming back. I finally got it up when I decided to plant flowers in the old abandoned bed and rotor tilled it to death.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 29, 2020 7:41 am 
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A question about your rhubarb plant, conifer4. Is the whole plant turning red or just some leaves? Is your plant rotting, one of the signs of the bacteria infection? How old is your plant?

I reason I ask is on my rhubarb plants, leaves that are low to the ground and are shaded by much bigger leaves often turn red and then die. But the plant is self is fine and I can get a good harvest.


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 29, 2020 8:36 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
.... on my rhubarb plants, leaves that are low to the ground and are shaded by much bigger leaves often turn red and then die. But the plant is self is fine and I can get a good harvest.


Often turn red and then die? Very interesting. You see this happen frequently?
What do you thinking is going on with your plants? Just too much shade? Some type of contamination from the soil?

I have never seen it happen in the Spring or early Summer. I've seen small early leaves get too much shade then turn yellow and die. But not red. I've only seen red leaves in the fall right before the plant goes into dormancy. But then still not to the degreee that Conifer4 shows in her pic.

I am fascinated by this topic. :nerd:

Has anyone else seen rhubarb leaves turn red in the Spring/Summer? Please chime in even if you have no idea why it happens.


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 29, 2020 8:59 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
A question about your rhubarb plant, conifer4. Is the whole plant turning red or just some leaves? Is your plant rotting, one of the signs of the bacteria infection? How old is your plant?


Pretty much the whole plant. The new leaves are looking green, so I pulled the red ones off and will see if the new ones turn red. If so, it is probably the red leaf bacteria in which case the whole plant will get pulled. However, it also looks like too much dirt was added to the bed somewhere along the way and the crown got buried. So that may also be the problem. I know it is best to transplant in the spring, but I keep thinking trying to raise the plant to expose the crown may be the way to go. The worst that happens is it dies, which I am thinking it will do anyway if I don't at least try it.


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 29, 2020 12:35 pm 
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CooknThyme wrote:
Often turn red and then die? Very interesting. You see this happen frequently?
What do you thinking is going on with your plants? Just too much shade? Some type of contamination from the soil?

Maybe it's the type of rhubarb that I have. I think the early leaves get zapped by a freeze or two or three :-) and get weak. Then the stronger leaves come out and over shadow the weak leaves which turn red then brown and then dry out. I remove then mid-season.

I dug up and divided my main plant this year into three parts and planted them in my new perennial bed. They were slow to start and didn't have many leaves when we have our hardest freezes. Now, they are all putting out nice big green leaves. I won't harvest any this year from the new plants.

The pocket gophers ate my other two rhubarb plants.

Fortunately, one of the HAGS has the two biggest, healthiest rhubarb plants I've ever seen and she has given me stems twice now this year. She said I am doing her a favor in that if she kept the rhubarb, she would make rhubarb crisp and have to eat it all by herself. Isn't this nice of me to help her out?

conifer4 wrote:
I know it is best to transplant in the spring, but I keep thinking trying to raise the plant to expose the crown may be the way to go.

Sure, why not raise it now or if it had huge roots, just remove some of the soil around the crown. Or put a shovel under it and, using it as a lever, raise the plant up some.

Let us know the status of the plant as you go along.


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 Post subject: Re: Rhubarb turning red?
Post Posted: Jun 29, 2020 1:30 pm 
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TillerBee wrote:
I think the early leaves get zapped by a freeze or two or three :-) and get weak.

That is certainly possible. I saw something online that had me considering that too.
I've just not seen that happen in my own rhubarb bed so I was a little sceptical.


TillerBee wrote:
Fortunately, one of the HAGS has the two biggest, healthiest rhubarb plants I've ever seen and she has given me stems twice now this year. She said I am doing her a favor in that if she kept the rhubarb, she would make rhubarb crisp and have to eat it all by herself. Isn't this nice of me to help her out?

:coffee screen:
Too much rhubarb? Oh what a problem to have! :lol:
I love rhubarb!!! So many ways to cook it! And I freeze whatever I can't prepare right away.

TillerBee wrote:
why not raise it now ... put a shovel under it and, using it as a lever, raise the plant up some.


I've been thinking something similar. Perhaps use a pitch fork is raise just a bit (trying not to disturb the roots too much) and a second person moving some soil underneath. A bit risky this time of year, but might be worth a try???????

But if the problem is that bacteria thing, then that would be alot of work for nothing.


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