wilting native perennials
I have a small native perennial garden in my yard. Last year, nearly all of my mist flower began to wilt and then die. None of it came back this year. Now, the next set of plants over from the mist flower are wilting and dying. I don't see any insect injuries on the stems. The plants wilt from the flower first but eventually the entire stem dies off. The plants currently impacted are a tall rudbeckia variety. Any suggestions?
This is probably Southern blight, a fungal disease. It is notorious for attacking rudbeckia. Look for the tiny white balls--capsules containing spores--in the soil in the area. Here is our webpage that explains and gives control options: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/southern-blight-flowersgroundcovers