WSU Extension

Hortsense

Caption: Tulip fire damage: black sclerotia
Photo by: R.S. Byther
  
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Tulip : Fire
(revision date: 4/23/2014)


Biology
Tulip fire is caused by a fungus that overwinters in soil, affected bulbs and diseased plant debris. Flowers are quite susceptible. Water soaked spots and dead spots occur on flowers. Severe infections may induce blight of entire buds and blossoms. Flower petals that drop onto leaves can promote further disease spread on the leaves. Sclerotia can develop at the base of stems and on the outer scales of developing daughter bulbs. Leaves develop small, elongated spots that appear yellow and water soaked. Leaves may distort and partially rot as spots enlarge. Infected areas eventually turn whitish-gray. The fungus attacks flowers and flower stems similarly. The grayish brown, powdery spore coating on the flowers is very noticeable. At the stem's base and on the outer scales of bulbs, several black or dark brown sclerotia may be found. These structures carry the fungus through the winter or other harsh conditions.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Remove diseased plants and adjacent soil as soon as you spot the disease.
  • At fall digging time, examine all bulbs, discard diseased ones.
  • When disease is present, rotate tulips to new locations each year to prevent fungal buildup in soil.
  • Plant using healthy stock.
  • Remove flowers prior to petal fall.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management


None recommended

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Caption: Tulip fire damage: black sclerotia
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Tulip fire damage on flowers
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Tulip fire on leaves
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Tulip fire damage on leaves
Photo by: R.S. Byther