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We appear to have Slime Flux in our Seagull rambler rose- since pruning last week 2 stems have been oozing & foaming an orangey yellow liquid. Does anyone know of a treatment for this please. We found out what it was this evening on the Gardeners World programme where it was shown affecting a Cordyline australis.



I only heard about Slime Flux myself this evening on Gardeners World. I am positive it solves the mystery of the orangey pink ooze out of my tree fern.

Wasn't it a useless piece other than identifying the problem. No help at all. I have been having a quick look around and don't think it sounds very hopeful though.

I would like to know how contagious it is.

Sorry I am of no help.

8 Apr, 2011 or Slime Flux

These two diseases are described under bacterial diseases because a number of diverse bacteria, including Erwinia spp., are thought to be the cause of these poorly understood diseases. In the literature the disease is referred to as slime flux and/or wetwood.

Symptoms: Symptoms of Slime Flux consist of water-soaked, discolored areas at or below branch crotches and trunk wounds with chronic bleeding of sap. Wilting and die back of branches may occur. Water-soaked wood with large numbers of bacteria is discolored and dead. Liquid may seep out of cracks and wounds and run down the bark. The liquid, because of contamination with microorganisms, becomes dark in color, sticky and odiferous. Fermentation of tree tissues may cause increases of pressure and toxin production within the infected tree. Normally, the disease is not found in young trees. This is probably due to the fact that in the sapwood and heartwood of normal, young actively growing trees, bacteria and fungi are rare. Susceptible hosts in Arizona include: ash (Fraxinus spp.), elms (Ulmus spp.), cottonwood (Populus fremontii), mulberry (Morus spp.) and mesquite, common and chilean (Prosopis juliflora and P. chilensis).

Control: There are no preventative methods for Slime Flux except good tree health care practices, proper watering, feeding and pruning. There are no controls for the disease. The practice of installing tubes to drain liquid is no longer recommended since it does not alleviate the problem and the holes are a good infection site for many pathogenic organisms. Trees with Slime Flux will usually live for many years, but any weakened limb should be removed if it is a safety risk. If the dripping causes stains on patios or walkways, a hard water spray, applied routinely, may prevent staining.

I put Slime flux on roses in to my web search facility and this is one of the results from the link above. There are many others to investigate.

9 Apr, 2011


I'm wondering if you pruned it earlier this year - slime flux or wetwood usually only affects woody plants, particularly trees, and a number of yeast/fungus/bacteria are usually the cause. They enter through wounds, obviously, and its more likely if the sap is up and flowing freely when the damage or cuts are made. The only thing you can do now is to remove the affected stems as low down as possible, below soil level if that's where they're coming from, but at the rootstock otherwise. Do this immediately, and sterilise your secateurs or loppers afterwards. Make the cuts clean, so the cutting equipment you use should be very sharp.
Sorry Pixielady, just realised you do say you pruned it a couple of weeks ago... that'll be the opportunity the slime flux organisms were waiting for... Bear in mind for this year that ramblers should be pruned in September, not in Spring.

9 Apr, 2011


Note that the most common source of infection, is dirty pruning tools. Be sure to wash your tools with a 10% chlorine bleach solution before pruning anything else.

9 Apr, 2011


Thank you for the advice & info-could this problem have been exacavated by the winter weather? I've always tidied up my roses in the spring, but this year because I didn't do a proper job last autumn there was more to do and I pruned more severely than usual! Tomorrow we'll carry out your advice, thanks all of you.

10 Apr, 2011


Thanks for all your comments/advice - I have cut the rose stems that were affected right back to soil level & washed the cut stems & brushed a weak solution of bleach onthe cut surfaces! This has worked well - there has been no re-occurance of the flux and the other stems have lots of new shoots - thanks again for helping me to rescue our lovely rose. Just shows that we are always learning even after 40 years of gardening!!

22 May, 2011


Congratulations on saving your Seagull. I have one in my garden and did not get around to pruning it properly so left it alone. I won't be so worried now you have come up with a simple solution to the problem. It is a worry to lose a plant which is established.

23 May, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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