Question: My pyracantha plant suddenly died. I see no signs of insects or diseases. Last week it was fine, now it’s dead. What causes that?

Answer: Cotton root rot. Pyracanthas are quite susceptible. It’s a soil-borne fungus that waits for just the right weather conditions, then kills susceptible plants in a matter of days. There is no control for it once it’s evident. It is a problem only in alkaline soils, so work lots of organic matter into the ground if you’re planting in a part of Texas where cotton root rot has been a problem. However, you should not replant in the exact same place with another pyracantha, if a plant has been lost to the disease already.

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