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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
Hollyhock rust

Hollyhock Rust

Posted by John Fulton -

Hollyhocks are one of the traditional, old-fashioned flowers often grown in our area. This year, they are definitely interesting. Even before the flowers open. Most area hollyhocks are infected with rust. Rust is usually a spring and fall disease problem, when it occurs.

Rust first shows up on the bottom of the lower leaves, and the top side of the leaves has some rather striking bright yellow to orange spots develop. Rust can attack all plant parts including leaves, stems, and leaf petioles. The rust disease spends the winter in old plant parts on the ground. Removal of the plant material will help reduce infection possibilities. Increasing air flow and reducing humidity will also help. Control is best accomplished by removing infected leaves at the first sign of the rust (on the bottom of the leaves). Chemical control may needed, and sprays containing sulfur are effective.

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