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Plant Diseases/Red Apple Iceplant

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Question
About a month ago our red apple iceplant was green and beautiful. We watered as normal, but the next day it rained (we live in SD, Ca - which has been in a drought for a while so it was nice and weird to have rain). About a week later we noticed a smell (like mildew) coming from our iceplant plus the leaves were wilty and brown. I lifted the iceplant up and noticed that under was wet and slimmy. I tried to air it out (by lifting and poking holes in the ground). The ground dried up, but the iceplant kept getting brown and dying. We went and purchased fertilizer. That didn't work. We waited a week and purchased a Fungized....that doesn't seem to be working. It's a large area and it seems to be spreading. At this point should I remove all the dead areas? Have you heard of this? Don't know what to do.
PS-the iceplant is on a hill that was well draining.
Thank you

Answer
Dear JH, This is a common problem with ice plant that gets too much water.  Ordinarily they like to stay on the dry side, and prefer shallow watering.  Even if the hill is well draining, the plant will not do well when the soil is wet.  At this point, be sure to remove ALL the dead and dying plant areas and bag and discard them.  Try to keep the area as dry as possible, and remove any plants that are beginning to die.  Succulents will be fine for some time with no water.  Definitely don't fertilize anymore, as that may actually aggravate the situation.  After all the dead plant is removed, it might be helpful to spray with a fungicide that is approved for succulents, but this may get limited results.  With luck, and drier soils, the plant will recover if the dead plants can be removed and no further damage occurs, but it may take a while for the ice plant to get back to normal because of lingering pathogens in the soil.  In that case, you may need to consider another ground cover.  However, I think if you stay on top of the infection, your ice plant has a good chance to recover.  I hope this information helps.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston

Expertise

Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.

Experience

35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Organizations
Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

Publications
none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Education/Credentials
Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of Allexperts.com and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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