Plants suddenly die. - Knowledgebase Question

Redmond, Or
Avatar for norriss
Question by norriss
June 30, 2010
At least one plant per year suddenly wilts and dies. Mostly it has been Lilly of the Valley Shrub (pierris Sp?) in the past but this year it was a Rhododendron. What could be the culprit? When I pull it up, I dont see any bugs or worms or other creatures on it.

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
It's hard to say for sure what the problem is. I've seen shrubs die quickly when they've been nibbled by rodents -- rabbits seem to be a common culprit, as are voles. If the animals girdle the trunk by nibbling the bark all the way around, then the shrub will die. The problem often occurs in winter when other food is scarce, then shows up in late spring or early summer when the plant can't transport nutrients properly. Examine the bark near ground level and a few inches up, looking for nibble marks. If you determine that to be the problem, you may want to install rodent guards around the trunks of other valued shrubs.

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