The Q&A Archives: Photinia Wilting

Question: I have about a dozen 5 year old Photinia plants. Periodically, one will start to droop (no spots), then die; that usually takes about 6 months to 1 year. Sometimes only one branch of an otherwise healthy plant does this. They have adequate water. What's wrong?

Answer: Your plants have symptoms of a bacterial disease (caused by Erwinia amylovora), commonly called twig blight. It's similar to the symptoms of fire blight in that the leaves droop then turn brown and an entire branch is infected. The bacteria live over in cankers on the stems and ooze out during warm spring rains, to infect other, healthy tissues. To control, prune out infected branches as soon as you recognize the problem, pruning below the infection, and sterilizing your pruning tools after each cut. (Dip in rubbing alcohol then use a lightweight oil to lubricate the cutting edges.)

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