WSU Extension


Common Diseases : Dead roots
(revision date: 4/30/2013)

A plant showing symptoms of off-color, stunting, wilting, and death may be suffering from a root problem. Dead and discolored roots result from factors such as fungal root rot disease, excessive moisture, excessive salts (fertilizer), cold damage, or lack of oxygen. It may be difficult to determine whether roots are dead or alive. Comparing the roots from a healthy plant with those of the problem plant is helpful.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Protect plants against cold damage. Do not leave plants in containers outside during freezing weather.
  • Provide adequate drainage and do not overwater.
  • Do not overfertilize.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Diseased roots and healthy roots
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Phytophthora root rot on cedar
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Phytophthora root rot infecting trunk
Photo by: R.S. Byther