viburnum juddi weird color

massagerocksAugust 17, 2013

i planted a new Viburnum juddi in May. The leaves are now an odd, anemic looking longer deep green, but a light gold color. It appears to be dying. I had another new Viburnum Juddi next to it that was planted in late September. It looked great until last month when the leaves suddenly curled up and the whole thing dried up and died. They are planted in full day sun, with evening shade. I dont think I've overwatered, since we've had a rather wet summer here in Southeast Michigan. I dont see any bugs and the stems are intact. Any thoughts as to what is happening? thanks.

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Some reading for insight linked here...more than you need.

I suggest a soil test first.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:19AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

. I dont think I've overwatered, since we've had a rather wet summer here in Southeast Michigan.

==>>> i disagree in SE MI ... in adrian MI anyway ....

though we have had enough rain to keep the grass green.. i have had extreme drought.. an inch or two down ....

perhaps.. your presumption about water is wrong ...

dig a hole and find out.. though with the inch and a half of rain last week.. it isnt going to tell you much about july .... and if your plant curled.. browned and died in july.. i suspect drought ...

i will go with improper planting.. with improper watering.. and no pic to go any further with .... trying to figure this out ....


    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:43AM
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here's a pic

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 11:19AM
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I would also look for poor planting and insufficient water, with the planting technique being most suspect. You can put as much water as you want on a badly planted shrub, and it will still suffer. So few people take the time to tease out the roots. If you were to dig the shrub up right now and see an identifiable rootball, that's a problem. The roots should have grown into the surrounding soil by now.

You have a uniformly suffering shrub there. Judd Viburnums take a season or two to establish underground before they show any noticeable topgrowth. We have three beauties outside our kitchen window that never would have made it if I hadn't ungirdled their roots two months after they were 'professionally' planted.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Looks like a mineral deficiency or just maybe too much sun - leaves being partly green might point the latter. Otherwise, if plant is too wet top can become deficient because roots are being lost, otherwise fertilization may be all that is needed. Outcome depends on wow well product selected meets the specific need - sometimes when shrubs go all pale they have a magnesium deficiency, otherwise it may just be a lack of nitrogen.

The only way I can think of girdling roots affecting leaf color of a newly planted specimen is if the fact that most of the roots are involved in circling around in the old, leached out potting soil is keeping the shrub from getting enough minerals. Otherwise the problems with bound roots are mechanical ones that manifest over time, like the top going over because the plant is not adequately anchored.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 4:51PM
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Bboy, I do think this problem can be tied to girdling roots. We had a Swamp White Oak planted two years ago, and it looked just like this after two months. It eventually dropped all its leaves by midsummer. The nursery that sold and planted it was prepared to replace it, but I investigated the rootball before they came out, and sure enough, they had done a terrible job planting it. I worked on it for over an hour, filling in air gaps, teasing out roots (which professionals almost never do and it makes me crazy) and watering it thoroughly. The tree leafed out again right away, and the nursery was off the hook, but I sure gave them a good scolding.

I am always stunned at nurseries that offer guarantees and then do such a poor planting job that they end up replacing so many things.
In any case, it is always worth getting down into the soil and getting to the "root" of the problem. Also, a soil test might help, because if it appears to be a mineral deficiency. there might be adequate nutrients in the soil, but the pH might be prohibiting the plant from taking them up.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The main immediate problem with intact potting soil root-balls is that they constantly shed water to the surrounding, usually finer-textured existing soil of the planting site - note that you mentioned watering the oak when you re-planted it. If it was in dry potting (or field) soil when you dug it up, well then there it is.

When clay-like field soil root-balls get dried out on the inside before being installed on the final planting site these often resist re-wetting, resulting in failure to establish. I've dug up failed (very little growth after planting) trees I planted with intact field soil root-balls, that had been watered for years during summer (and rained on by more than one winter) to find them sitting in dust.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:49AM
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Thanks all. We planted these shrubs overselves, and are very careful to spread out the roots. The leaves now have large black areas all over them, although the plant seems to be holding its own, but the coloring is awful looking. Should I spray it with something?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I'm thinking black could be sunburn, a bacterial infestation or maybe something having to do with minerals - in the first and third instances it would be a continuation of the same problem that made it yellow. If you have a Cooperative Extension branch office near there you might be able to get somewhere taking samples to them for comment.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:01PM
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If you don't have a definitive diagnosis, then no, don't spray it with anything. If you are certain the shrub was planted properly, then keep it adequately watered, but do get a soil test from that area. Since the shrub is already stressed, it's best not to fertilize it, and besides, it's getting late in the season for that.

This might be encouraging to you. We had a Leatherleaf (Viburnum rhytidophylloides 'Allegheny') that turned uniformly pale gree a couple years ago. IT had been in the ground for three years, and it's normally dark dark green foliage turned the color of the leaves on your Judii. Then it dropped its leaves before winter (something Leatherleafs don't usually do). The following spring, after an arborist deemed it dead and my husband was putting off removing it, it came to life from the crown. We cut all the dead away and it is now a beautiful specimen, and blooming right now. Now my husband pats himself on the back for procrastinating.

Viburnums are amazing. Yours might just surprise you. Our sol test came back normal, not indicating any cause for what happened, and it's still a mystery. I'd prefer to know why it died back, but we don't always get answers.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:53PM
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that encourages me mulchmama, thanks. I have 2 more pics. This one is the weird sickly colored plant with the leaves now showing these black areas.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:52PM
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This is also a juddi planted next to it. The leaves have the same black areas, but the plants coloring is more normal. We planted 3 of these viburnums last fall.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Planting site is probably too hot, since they both have the black - with the yellow one showing there is a need for fertilizer that they probably all share, actually, even though all are not yellow. The other reason is that Viburnum carlesii needs some shade, and is one of the parents of V. x juddii.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:00AM
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