Asked March 08, 2016, 10:04 AM EST
I had some questions about my garden. If you can help, or point me in the right direction, that would be awesome!
In 2014, one of my peonies started getting black spots on the leaves, then in 2015 it started out having the black spots, then the plant started to look almost burnt. It is completely dead looking now with almost crispy burnt looking leaves and stems. I think whatever started on my peony spread to my rhubarb, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and possibly my daylillies by the fall of 2015. My rhubarb stalks looked like they were getting holes in them and would fall over. The rhubarb was sickly looking, but I couldn't tell for sure if it was bugs or something else. My daylillies leaves were just yellow and sickly looking, but never looked "burnt." The basil and tomatoes were burnt looking. Whatever it is seems to have spread all over my landscape and garden. Plants it didn't bother were cilantro, calendula, onions, and possibly zinnia (kids picked them out of the ground before the rest of the garden got bad). I live in Rockford, MI. I grew all the annuals from seed. I generally like to do things naturally, but will use a spray if that is the only option to get rid of whatever is going on.
1. Do you know what could cause this? I think maybe a fungus or something?
2. Should I do some sort of testing on the plants?
3. What can I do about it? I only used half of my garden this year, so I could garden on the other half, but I don't want whatever is going on to spread.
4. I was going to cover my garden beds with straw, but I don't want to harbor any plant diseases. Is straw OK to use as mulch?
5. Should I throw out all of the plant material in my compost pile? I had put some of the plant material in there before I realized something abnormal was going on in my garden.
6. Is there any hope for my peonies?
Any help would be very much appreciated! I'm wanting to start planning my garden again this year, but i need to figure out what is going on first. I wish I would have thought to take pictures of the plants to help ID the problem.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Kent County Michigan