Cull Rotted Bulbs - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Cull Rotted Bulbs


Rotten Ornamental Allium Bulb Photo credit: Terry Hansen

Q. I’ve been raising alliums for 20 years. Some years I’ve left them in the ground over winter, but most years I lift them when the stems dry up and replant them late September –  early October. This year I lifted them and most were rotten. I’ve never seen this before. I had 47 to dig this year and only got a dozen to replant this fall. I hope the pictures
show the little white maggot looking worms.  – T.H.

Rotten Ornamental Allium Bulb

Rotten Ornamental Allium Bulb

A. There is an onion fly whose larvae (maggots) feed on the bulbs, causing a soft rot. The heavy rains earlier this season may have hastened the soft rot of the bulbs as well. The best plan of action is to cull the affected bulbs, which you have already done. When you replant, select a different area and aim for well-drained soil. Do not save any bulbs that appear to be even a little soft. If the problem persists next year, you might consider sending a sample to the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab ( to confirm the diagnosis. The Purdue Perennial Doc smartphone app is another useful resource. See

Q.  I have lived in rural White County for nearly 40 years. We are right beside a farm field. The farm has changed to a different farmer within the same family. This farmer has been intentionally spraying our windbreak with brush killer. (I have photos of this.) We have lost 20-30 trees since he has taken over. He sprays with as much as 20-25 mph west wind UP IN THE AIR (at our mature windbreak) so we have major damage to trees, flowers as far as 80 feet from the property line. Is there a hardy, fast-growing, spray-resistant tree I can replace some of our windbreak with? –  G.D.S.

A. There are no windbreak species that I am aware of that would tolerate brush killer herbicide. In the interest of neighborly relations, the best option would be to talk to your neighbor farmer and let them know of your concerns. If such a meeting is not possible or does not yield good results, you might consider contacting the Office of the Indiana State Chemist to file a complaint. The OISC is the state agency that regulates feed, seed, fertilizer and pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.) in Indiana. Every year OISC is called upon to investigate a number of pesticide- and fertilizer-related complaints. OISC will investigate and collect evidence to determine if there are violations of relevant state or federal pesticide laws. The OISC does not take sides in these complaint investigations, does not determine damages and cannot force one party to pay another for any damages that may have occurred. OISC will, however, try to determine if off-target harm from pesticide exposure has occurred. For more information, see

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