Dahlia Question

Hi Y'all,
My 3-yr old son picked out a dahlia from the store back in May. Please keep in mind, to him this is "his" flower in "mommy's" flower bed and he is very attached to it! When we bought the plant, there were 2 blossoms and several buds, after those two blossoms died out, one of the buds opened, but none of the others did. A few more buds popped up, but for some reason, they are all turning black and dying before they can bloom. All the leaves are fine and seem to be quite healthy, but the buds turn black, starting at the very top of it, and then running down the plant. It reminds me of when frost has killed something in the garden, but there's been no frost or cold weather in this area for a few months now. (south-eastern NC, on the border of zone 7B-8B.) I've never had a problem growing any dahlia's in this same flower bed before, so this has me stumped. Any ideas on what may be causing this or how I can stop it before it possibly kills the entire plant??
Thanks! ~Rae
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On Fri, 20 Jun 2008 17:11:47 -0400, rachael simpson

Have you had a lot of rain lately?
The other thing is this is a really amazing opportunity to teach your son that attachment is not a desired state of mind. Oh how I wish I had a mommy who taught me that when I was a little girl.
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Jangchub wrote:

Nope, rain has been in short supply around here. I do keep everything watered regularly, though.
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On Fri, 20 Jun 2008 22:36:56 -0400, rachael simpson

You may be over watering
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Uh-oh:o(
Does this sound familiar?
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Plant-Diseases-715/marigolds-dahlia-dying.htm
Q. " . . . my dahlia's are also drying out. they stopped flowering a long time ago but the leaves were still healthy. then all of a sudden it looked like they hadn't been watered in months. which is not the case. "
A. "I am afraid that your marigolds and dahlias have typical symptoms of Southern bacterial wilt, caused by _Ralstonia solanacearum_, a widespread and destructive disease of numerous crops in the warm climates. It is a major disease of tobacco, tomato, potato, dahlia, geranium, hollyhock, hydrangea, marigold, nasturtium, zinnia and others. Bacterial wilt is the most frequent disease problem of marigolds."
Some say you have a chance to save the plant by cutting off the infected areas. (Be sure to sanitize cutting instrument between cuts.) Others say to just pull it and don't compost it. There is no treatment and you can't plant another one in the same bed.
It most likely came home from the nursery with you.
See <web.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/pdf_pubs/607.pdf> for other plants affected by this pathogen.
I'm really not an ornamental grower, so hopefully someone else will be along to confirm or deny my suspicions.
- Billy
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