Yucca tree fungus problem from propagation

jerkchicken23(8)June 6, 2014

Hello All, I'm a newbie posting but not new to this wonderful and resourceful site!

A big problem has occurred with my huge Yucca tree, and I thought maybe someone here could help me out?

I went through the steps of propagation for a Yucca, cutting it's trunk into sections, removing most leaves and allowing to dry out for approx 1 week in shaded yet dry area of the house. Keeping the root ball potted/repotting and leaving in shaded yet dry area of the house. I did this because the Yucca was severely root bound and looking very unhealthy.

All cuttings, including the original trunk with roots (after being repotted in no peat compost, soil and pebbles in a pot with good drainage), all of them have developed what looks like fungus/mold on their tips (where the cut was made on the trunk).

I've allowed them to continue to dry out, and it's just getting worse. I'm so sad, this was a beautiful tree that was suffering from root bound, and I thought I could bring it new life and even have some new Yucca's to give out to loved ones.

If anyone could advise, anything. I would really like to save this tree, even if just the main tree with roots.

Many thanks for taking the time to read and reply!

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Please post an image or two.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Yes, a photo would be good!
However, I've heard that sprinkling ground cinnamon on the fungus that causes damping off can fix the problem. Maybe cinnamon could help you too?

- Sparkey

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Of course, I didn't think to post a photo! Thanks for pointing that out.

I've attached one now, it's a picture of the trunk potted with roots (the original yucca tree). I'll post more shortly.

I've used cinnamon before, it certainly works to an extent (my experience with eliminating gnats and mild issues with soil from overwatering) but I'm worried there may be an underlying problem, like root rot or something else I've not encountered before or had to treat.

Poor Yucca! There I was thinking I was helping it and it turns out, I've done more damage than good!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:16AM
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Another picture of the problem I've encountered with the cuttings, for propagation from the trunk. This one has been allowed to dry out in a dry area of the house with indirect sunlight. Still, it has mold.

I'm uncertain how it's occurred, how to treat it to possibly save the Yucca tree (cuttings and original) or what it is. Fingers crossed it's something easily treatable and the Yucca can thrive once more.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Hmmm, interesting!
I don't think root rot would cause mould to pop up on top of the plant.
Besides, that looks like the kind of mould that grows on the surface of stale bread and things like that. I think it's more likely to be something that's going on at the surface of the cut causing the mould - not something systemic. From what I can see, the bark still looks nice and healthy.

It's really hard to tell why that sort of thing happens sometimes. If it were my plant, I'd cinnamon it, cross my fingers and wait.
Hopefully the mould is just taking advantage of dead tissue at the cut surfaces and isn't an indication of a serious problem!

- Sparkey

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:42AM
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@Sparkey, you know, that hadn't occurred to me. The point you made about it looking like mold on stale bread. Maybe this is the case, so cinnamon it is!

I was hopeful that by now there would have been some evidence of growth from either the original trunk with roots or the cuttings, but there's nothing. I don't want to plant the cuttings for propagation with the mold, otherwise it may cause problems. So I'll likely just focus my attentions on the original Yucca.

I really hope you're right @Sparkey! I'll update, letting you and everyone know if the cinnamon appears to have any affect.

Does anyone else have any thoughts?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Cool! I'd like to know what happens!
Hey, why not plant the cuttings anyway, even if you're not optimistic?
They certainly won't grow if you don't plant them! ... but if you do, they might.

As for shoots, how long has it been since you took the cuttings? I wouldn't expect anything from them or the tree for at least a few weeks.

Ahh! Also, you may know this already, but careful not to water the tree very much until it has some new leaves - plants loose most of their water through the leaves, so if your tree doesn't have any, it will need very little water. Just enough to stop it drying out.

- Sparkey

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:21PM
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@PatchyJack - I'm so sorry, I thought your screen name was Sparkey!

Great thinking, I may as well plant them. Hopefully something good will come of this! What's sad is that approximately 2-3 weeks have passed and I've seen no growth, no shoots, nothing.

I've done exactly as you say, I've left them, no added water. The soil is slightly damp about 1" down, so that's more than sufficient I should think.

I've sprinkles some cinnamon over the mold on each one, and will plant the ones I haven't as yet today. It's a beautiful day here today, so maybe the weather will give them an extra push toward good health?!

I still, no matter how much I search online, can find what the cause of the mold is or how it can occur. Very weird.

Will keep you posted along the way, thanks so much!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:16AM
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No problem! I'm really glad if I've helped!
I hope it all works out for you!

I think the mould is just growing on surfaces like mould does. Moulds will be moulds?
Hopefully that's all it is.
As for the timing... I have this feeling that yuccas just take a long time to from new buds. We have one in the garden and I don't remember ever pruning it, but it's been there since I was a kid (my grandpa used to own this place) so maybe I'm thinking of something that happened a really long time ago.
Anyway, in my mind yuccas takes ages to shoot. I would guess over a month, but like I said, I don't really know.

Oh, yeah, my screen name is PatchyJack, but when I sign my posts, I sign them Sparkey. Sorry. It's a bit confusing :P

- Sparkey

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:26AM
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Well so far, nothing! No growth, no more mould due to applying cinnamon though!

It's so sad, I've potted and taken great care of the cuttings in the hope that the propagation will work. But it hasn't so far. They almost look 100% dead now and there's tiny mites/gnats in the soil now. arg!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Sorry to hear it!
But still, be patient. You never know when a plant like that will surprise you.

Gnats in the soil may just mean it's a bit wetter than it needs to be. I suggest letting it dry a bit more between waterings.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 3:59AM
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An update!

Not only did the cinnamon kick the fungus' butt, it also saved my jade plant from a nasty infection. No clue what it was but it's absolutely saved my plants a lot of grief and potential death.

Now for the great news, round duex, the trees are growing. Yep, that's right, they've budded and have new green shoots appearing and looking very healthy. There's no sign of anything that could interfere, no fungus, no rot, nada.

I have to say, I really was hesitant, and ultimately wasn't too sure anything good was going to come of this. But, I was wrong. I look forward to seeing them grow stronger, year on year.

Thanks for all your help and encouragement. Sometimes is green-thumbs turn blue, sorry for the cheese!

So in short cinnamon is like poison to mould/fungus/rot and Yucca Trees are slow growers, but great for propagation.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:13PM
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Hullo hullo!
That's excellent! I'm really glad to hear it!

All the best,

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:36AM
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