Question From: Paducah, Kentucky, United States
Q: Why would the stems on my mums in the ground turn black before the mum blooms?
Sounds like Pythium stem rot, a disease that is caused by overwatering and over fertilizing with high salts fertilizers such as Miracle Gro. If you choose to try and control it I would suggest a fungicide such as Bordeaux mix - a mixture of copper sulfate and hydrated lime. Good Luck and Happy Yardening, Nancy