Something is causing the crowns to rot and starve the plant of moisture. Any ideas what is causing it?
What is happening to my Columbines??
How devastating! That's pretty sad. Aquilegias aren't that easy to come by for me. Growing them from seed is hit and miss. Getting them from a garden center is pretty difficult too--usually not much choice. I guess I would contact your county agent and see what could be salvaged. Maybe you could dig up the ones that are not infected and put them in another location. I would wash off all of the soil from the roots first.
Here's what I found. I wish you the best.
Could it be poor drainage and winter wet? Was your area hit by the vast amount of snow this past winter?
I was wondering the same thing as altagardener. I had one or two that sent up very early flower stems that were curling but they eventually straightened out. Maybe sitting snow started rot and invited other pests to dine?
It's not poor drainage as columbines have lived in this garden for a few years now with no issue. Also we just got out first rain in several weeks although I did water the garden once in that time. They volunteer like crazy and these plants are volunteers. I'm not sure any originals are left. We did not get copious amounts of snow last winter either. I'm with Birder on the cause being one of those fungi in the link. They're not all effected and as long as they live to set seed I don't care what happens to them then.