Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 9, 2021 9:37 AM CST
Scotland
My Ceanothus has suddenly died, one week ago it was absolutely fine, what could have caused this please ?
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Jul 9, 2021 9:49 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
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This would not happen in a weeks time.

There has been something going on here for 6-18 months. I have to think that there were indicators or signs that something was wrong. Those signs were missed.

We had a similar thing happen here 10-30 years ago on the East Coast where I used to live. It was with a fungus carried to the tree by a bark beetle. A very tiny bark beetle. The tree was a Japanese Black Pine. The fungus would work its way to the interior of the pine over the coarse of a couple of years. The mycelium would grow into and block the flow of water within the xylem and phloem of the pine. The tree would over time turn a little yellow green and then due to complete water blockage, it would change to brown in six weeks.
I mean you can't blame it on a freeze, a large heat wave, or some other catastrophic event. That's why I am thinking something internal.


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The image is of a healthy specimen. Conservative estimates are 95-97% of an estimated one million trees died as a result.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill Jul 9, 2021 9:50 AM Icon for preview
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Jul 9, 2021 11:20 AM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Bee Lover Bookworm Cat Lover Composter Container Gardener Herbs
Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Check the roots. Some burrowing critters can do a tremendous amount of damage chewing through roots. Same as with disease, the tree can withstand the loss of roots for quite awhile, then finally gives up when it can't sustain itself on the limited root system. It can appear as if it died almost overnight.
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 9, 2021 1:58 PM CST
Scotland
Thank you for your prompt response, I will have the roots checked tomorrow. Is there anything I could do to save this tree?
I have rather an odd neighbour and four years ago he put weed killer on the roots of my honeysuckle and killed it. I would like to think this hasn't happened again but how would I know if this is the case ?
Thank you
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Jul 9, 2021 3:19 PM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Bee Lover Bookworm Cat Lover Composter Container Gardener Herbs
Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Oof! If you know an experienced gardener or arborist, have them conduct a detailed inspection. Meanwhile we can try to figure it out. Can you take up-close, focused photos of bark, branches, leaves (both dead and green), and the trunk at the soil line?

There is no way to know if it can be saved until you know what's wrong.
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 9, 2021 5:25 PM CST
Scotland
I will take close up photos tomorrow of the branches and of the bark, thank you so much for helping me find out what's gone wrong with my tree
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 10, 2021 5:28 AM CST
Scotland
Hope the close up photos are clear enough for you, when my son in law comes I will ask him to pare a bit of the bark and photo it
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Jul 10, 2021 10:01 AM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Bee Lover Bookworm Cat Lover Composter Container Gardener Herbs
Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Thanks for the photos. I wonder if you could take more. They really do need to be well focused with a deeper depth of field: more leaves, more small branches especially branch tips. The whole shrub if possible. Also any small white fluff like what I think I see in the lower far right corner and at the very top of the branch to center.

Also, tell us a bit more: how old is it, how much water does it get, has it been heavily prune, what are its growing conditions (sun, shade, damp soil, climate, temperature extremes?)

I see what looks like possible fungal disease at the very least. Compare the photos in this link to leaves and twigs on your plants and see what you think
https://www.ndrs.org.uk/articl...

I was interested to learn how common the ceanothus is planted in the UK. Being a from California where it is native, I always associate it with hot, dry conditions. Your cold damp climate does pose some challenges.

@DaisyI I'll bet you're well familiar with ceanothus. Have you ever encountered fungus or wilt?
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
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Jul 10, 2021 10:14 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
How old is it? There are only 3 things that kill Ceanothus: wet roots, forest fires and old age. Their life expectancy is only about 10 years - 15 tops.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 10, 2021 10:16 AM CST
Scotland
As it's heavy rain today, typical Scotland summer 🤗 I'll take better photos tomorrow. It was heavily pruned last summer, mainly because it was causing too much shade over my raised bed and, at the other side, growing too close to one of my sheds. I water my garden if it's dry
( yes we do have some hot sunny days in summer) with the garden hose and make sure the root of bush gets a good soak
( which is actually a tree now) I also feed everything in the garden with a good plant food approximately every ten days, wonder if I've perhaps killed my Ceanothus with kindness.
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Jul 10, 2021 10:30 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
They are naturally chaparral plants - hot, dry and rain only in winter.

Maybe this will help:

https://www.gardenfocused.co.u...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Last edited by DaisyI Jul 10, 2021 10:33 AM Icon for preview
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Jul 10, 2021 11:20 AM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Bee Lover Bookworm Cat Lover Composter Container Gardener Herbs
Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Good site Daisy, thanks.

Alfiesmum, all that water and fertilizer...gulp Sad ... Not ideal conditions. I'm not sure to you can reverse the damage at this point. Is there anyone local who can take a look at it?
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 10, 2021 11:46 AM CST
Scotland
Oh dear, I'm feeling like a murderer, I've looked at the website and I seem to have been doing all the wrong things, having said that up until now my Ceanothus has been perfectly fine, it's approximately 10 years old and according to the link you sent Daisy ( thank you for that ) after 5 years it all downhill so perhaps it's simply died of old age, if the rain stops tomorrow I'll take better photos and ask my son in law to check the roots. Thank you so much for all this help.
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Jul 10, 2021 12:02 PM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Bee Lover Bookworm Cat Lover Composter Container Gardener Herbs
Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
If it's 10 years old and dying of old age, you're an inept murderer! Hilarious!

I think its longevity is testimony to the amazing adaptivity of plants. By all of the "rules" it shouldn't have survived, yet it has given you a decade of pleasure. I'd call that success Thumbs up
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 10, 2021 5:12 PM CST
Scotland
Now that makes feel so much better, although I seem to have broken all the rules my beautiful Ceanothus hung on in there so I hope it is resting in peace.
To give this sad story a happy ending IF the sun shines tomorrow I am going to take a photo of my dead tree tomorrow so that you can see it lived in beautiful surroundings.
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 11, 2021 4:53 AM CST
Scotland
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This is my poor Ceanothus, hope it was happy watching and listening to the beautiful birds who took shelter in it.

Thank you for the advice you gave me, this is possibly the best gardening advice site ever. ❤️🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
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Jul 11, 2021 9:17 AM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Bee Lover Bookworm Cat Lover Composter Container Gardener Herbs
Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
What a lovely spot. Thank you for sharing it 💚
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
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Jul 11, 2021 11:04 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Very nice! And I love your woven fence.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
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Jul 17, 2021 8:08 AM CST
Black Mountain, NC (Zone 7b)
Beautiful garden spot!
Avatar for Alfiesmum
Jul 17, 2021 3:35 PM CST
Scotland
My neighbour is very upset because her plants in large pots standing outside her front door have suddenly died, she has has them for a few years.
We live in
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a very narrow road in Peebles in Scotland, cars come down our road, I have beautiful pots outside my house and they are beautiful. Any help and advice would be extremely welcome
Thank you, Alfiesmun
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