The Q&A Archives: Burning Bush Leaves Turning Red And Dying

Question: I have noticed that some of the branches on our buring bushes have leaves that have turned red and are dying. We have had enough rain and I usually don't pay any attention to them as far as watering goes. They are about l7 years old and quite large. I have been pruning them for the last several summers. We have had a number of driving rain storms during the spring and into the summer with hail and a severe wind storm - could this be the trouble. Can they get diseased? I would hate to lose them.

Answer: Reddening and dieback is often a cause of drought stress but this would be unusual for established plants unless they have suffered some type of root disturbance. It could also possibly be caused by accidental herbicide drift or a similar physical cause such as being repeatedly hit with a basketball, for example. There are few typical problems although scale insects (would be little bumps or flat disks attached to the foliage and stems) and fungal infections do occasionally occur, but they would not necessarily cause reddening as you describe. You might inspect the plants carefully and possibly consult with your county extension (737-1178) for a more specific diagnosis and suggested steps to take care of the problem. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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