The Q&A Archives: Disease Symptoms On Blue Glorybower Tree

Question: My glorybower tree has yellowing, falling leaves. It is also getting a growth that looks like berries, but I think they are galls. They start out green and turn black as they enlarge. The tree is covered with ants. Help?

Answer: Clerodendrum (Glorybower) grows best in rich, moist, well draining soils and full sun to part afternoon shade. Yellowing leaves might indicate too much or too little water. If the weather has been exceptionally hot, it might be showing some stress. If your tree has already flowered, the berries are a natural occurance. The beauty of Clerodendrum is as much in the heart-shaped leaves as in the fragrant flowers and subsequent blue-black berries they produce. If the berries are on the branch tips, it's normal. If you're finding them on the trunk, limbs and branch crotches, it might be something else. Clerodendron are generally pest free, but an unhealthy tree can attract all kinds of problems. The presence of ants can indicate that your tree has an aphid infestation, or that the berries are ripe and the ants are enjoying their sweetness. Once the berries fall, the ants will leave. Inspect the leaves closely for aphids - ants like to "herd" aphids and feed on the sticky residue they excrete. If you think a watering problem has contributed to the yellowing leaves, try soaking the soil around the tree once each week, applying water slowly so it has a chance to percolate down and wet the entire rootmass. Repeat weekly to provide your Clerodendrum with adequate moisture throughout the growing season. Best wishes with your tree!

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