The Q&A Archives: Oleander Disease

Question: I understand that oleander hedges are subject to a bacterium which is fatal to the plant. If I buy plants that are free of this disease is it likely that my plant will be infected within a 5 year period? I need a >10' high evergreen flowering hedge and do not know of a good substitute for oleander.

Answer: Oleander can develop bacterial galls. It's thought that infestation of mealybugs or scale insects opens the way for infection by the bacteia. Spacing your plants properly and keeping them stress-free will make them less likely to be attacked by insects. If you water your plants regularly until they become established, and trim occasionally to promote new growth, they should remain healthy. If you find colonies of scale insects or mealybugs on the branches, remove them immediately. If branches develop warty galls, remove and destroy the branches to stop the spread of the disease.

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