The Q&A Archives: Lemonwood Tree

Question: Pittosporum Eugenioides (Lemonwood) tree that is in my backyard has a beautiful healthy cone shape to it on 3/4 of the tree. There is one side that has a large bare spot with some stems and
sparse leaves. Been that way for a long time thru winter & I was expecting growth during spring/summer, but not so. Tree was planted full grown 5 yrs. ago. Just noticed large bare spot this past winter.

Answer: Pittosporum Eugenioides is typically disease resistant so I'm not sure what's going on with your plant. Dog urine can kill plant parts so if the affected area looks suspiciously like it's in line with that, there's not much you can do to save the affected area. The high concentration of salts will effectively burn the foliage and can kill the branches and stems. If the location doesn't appear to be caused by dog urine, check to make sure there are no insect populations hanging around. Mealybugs and scale insects can really do a number on shrubs. If you can eliminate that as a cause, winter damage would be next on my list. The stems and branches with leaves still attached might be convinced to releaf with a little pruning. A final though - root rot can cause only part of a shrub to die back. You may need to dig down and inspect the roots. Mushy or obviously dead roots should be removed - with the hope that healthy new roots will grow in their places. Wish I had more suggestions to offer. Best wishes with your landscape!

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