Answer: Based on your description it is a bit difficult to make a guess. However, there are several possibilities. One is that there is physical damge of some sort, meaning an injury. Did a wheelbarrow smash into it or did the weedwhacker nick it or has a dog started lifting its leg on it, that type of thing. Another is that there is some sort of disease or pest at work. Examine the affected plants very carefully for any unusual signs, be sure to check top and bottom of the foliage as well as along the trunks. Another possibility is that the plants are experiencing a problem below ground such as a change in drainage pattern resulting in less water (or too much) reaching their roots. Finally, there is possibly a root problem such as encircling roots due to improper planting technique. If you suspect this as a cause you could dig up the dead plant and see if it is so. This past season was very dry and added significant stress -- any plant that was marginal in any way would be more prone to drought stress and could possibly die as a result. If you can't find a reason, you might check with your County Extenssion for additional suggestions. Their telephone number s 745-3445.
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