The Q&A Archives: dieing shrub branches

Question: White azaleas, French lace hydrangea, hardy plumbago - 1 or 2 branches dieing, wilting leaves. Cut out dead branch another appears. Plants about 4-5 years old - thriving otherwise. Told maybe anthracnose-researched it, but to me doesn't seem to be that - no spots. Live in Chesapeake, VA.

Answer: There's no way to diagnose the problems without inspecting the plants - both the healthy and the dying parts. Could be a fungal infection but might also be the result of insect feeding. Both anthracnose and verticillium, the common diseases with landscape trees and shrubs, live within the vascular system of susceptible hosts so the wood would be discolored. Instead, look for environmental reasons or for insect infestations. Or, take some samples into your cooperative extension office for positive identification. Cut off a symptomatic branch, also with the healthy part for comparison. Contact Virginia Cooperative Extension at 310 Shea Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23322 Phone: (757) 382-6348.

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