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Why Are My Rhubarb Stalks
Turning Brown, Wilting and Dying?

Is it Rhubarb Anthracnose Stem Rot?

   ... rhubarb starts out great in the spring, no dead leaves around and then, after a month or two, the leaves and stalks wilt back and die ...


My Rhubarb starts out great in the spring, no dead leaves around and then, after a month or two, the leaves and stalks wilt back and die.

The stalks look like they have rust all over the stems. No aphids. No visible pest.

I live .02 of a mile from the Pacific ocean.

I treat for slugs.

It comes back the following year if I keep it minimally moist.

I can't figure it out!



 ... Although it is hard to be entirely certain without actually observing the rhubarb plants you describe, your description makes me think the problem may be what is called "Anthracnose Stalk Rot".

See this page on my website:


Determine if the description on the website page, above, describes your rhubarb plants.

I would remove all the affected stalks and allow the plant to "start anew" to grow fresh shoots /stalks of rhubarb.

I would also apply a fertilizer, unless you have already done so, (we use all-purpose 10-10-10 granular fertilizer).

Be sure to discard all the stalks, and dispose of them away from the rhubarb garden.

In the fall, any rhubarb that has not been harvested before frost should be removed so that there are no stalks left. This is because this disease, (Anthracnose Stalk Rot), over-winters in infected plant tissue.

Rhubarb thrives very best in a sunny area of the garden with well-drained soil. It does not thrive in any condition where it remains "wet" all the time.

If the rhubarb dries out, it is better to apply a few deep waterings, a few days apart, than to water it with light waterings every day.

Also, if possible, water plants in the early morning so that the plant foliage has opportunity to dry during the day. Do not water the plants in the heat of a sunny day. ;)

See also this page about General Rhubarb Plant Care:


I hope this helps a bit!

Please do let me know how your rhubarb plants fair the rest of this Season, and if in fact the condition of new growth is improved!

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