Rusty Rhubarb #832076

Asked May 25, 2023, 4:15 PM EDT

My rhubarb plant was so healthy looking and sudden’y one day it had red splotches on the leaves. I hope it ins’t dying I’ve only had it for one year.

Hennepin County Minnesota

Expert Response

The red spots could have a few causes.  If you fertilized with granular fertilizer and the granules stayed on the leaves which then became damp, it will burn the leaves.  Similarly, liquid fertilizer or other products will do the same thing.  Perhaps an overspray from something used on your lawn.  Pull the stalks with the red spots, give your plant TLC and it should put out new healthy ones.  It would be rare to have a virus infecting your plant unless it was given to you by a friend and they already had it in their garden.
Barbara Harlan Replied May 25, 2023, 7:37 PM EDT

The plant I have hasn’t been exposed to any pesticides or fertilizers of any type. None of our neighbors use any products on their lawns either. Any other suggestions? I do have compost available and will add decaying leaves as mulch. 

The Question Asker Replied May 29, 2023, 10:21 PM EDT
No, I would pull those stalks with the red spots and allow new ones to grow.  You should not be harvesting it yet this year anyhow so do not pull any more than absolutely necessary.  The compost would be a good addition around the base.
Barbara Harlan Replied May 31, 2023, 9:02 PM EDT

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