Ligustrum Experiencing Sudden Wilt

kevingiese(9)September 21, 2011

Location: Central Florida

Species: Recurve Ligustrum

Watering: Twice weekly

Fertilizing: Bi-monthly

Trimming: Every Six Weeks

Establishment: Six years

For the life of me, I cannot figure out what is happening with my hedge line.

I am currently sitting on approximately two acres with the ligustrum hedges going around the entire perimeter. The sides of the property have been established for about six years. Half of the rear of the property has only been growing for three years, wit the other half closer to five.

For some reason, I have an issue with one corner in particular. This corner has all of a sudden refused to grow. Every few weeks I experience the same consistent problem with different plants. One shrub will begin to show signs of wilt, then will slowly dry up. The leaves turn brown and eventually fall off. And in time, the smaller branches lose all color.

I began replanting in the same area and the new shrubs do well for about four months, Then they stop growing, and end up dying off just like the rest.

I have been told to stop watering, don't fertilize as much, don't spray any weed killer, and don't trim. I have tried all opinions and nothing has worked. I've been struggling for over a year now. I have heard phytophthora, sudden wilt, Verticillium Wilt, and a few other ideas.

Attached are some photos of my problems.

Any ideas of what I can do? Any fungicides I can spray? Any techniques to cure my problem?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in photobucket.. use the HTML CODE ... on preview.. if you see it.. we will see it ... give it a try for the next peeps to come along ...

is your entire yard red mulch? ... how long.. why??? .. any relation???

what are you spraying with weed killer as you dont seem to have any lawn ???

do your neighbors hate you???

do you drive any machinery on the mulch???

do you water when they need water.. or on some schedule unrelated to the plants needs???

i am of the opinion.. that you NEVER fertilize a shrub... EVER!!!! .... unless a soil test indicates something is missing in your soil ... twice a month [bi-monthly] is way too much.. as is every other month [bi-monthly???] ....

perhaps hyper-fertilization is why you have to trim them every 6 weeks .... seriously .. i got rid of all my privet because it became too overwhelming to trim them twice a year.. and you are doing it nearly 9 times a year ....

ever think of trying something else???? sooner or later.. even i quit banging my head on a wall.. and go another direction .... this is a prime reason to argue for a diverse planting.. rather than all of one thing.. because.. as you are realizing... you get big problems when something hits a monoculture ...

any salt water problems due to hurricanes???

when you trim .. do you sanitize between plants.. or are you potentially spreading a problem plant to plant with the shears????

well .. thats the best i can do with a shotgun ....

good luck


    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 3:28PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Contact your county's Extension Service office, then send images and ask your questions.

Locate your office with this map:

Or have a Certified Arborist out for an on-site visit.

You can locate a Certified Arborist in the Yellow Pages, online or in a phone book. Tree care companies with such a person will include that information in their ads, either as a brief statement or as a small rectangular logo stating "Certified Arborist." Certified Arborists are trained in tree care, must pass an exam, and must accumulate mandated continuing education.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA map to locate Extension Service offices

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 2:53PM
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I have already contacted my Extension Office. I brought in samples, photos, and explained everything I could. They could only scratch their heads and apologize. The same goes for my pest control company. Which is why I am seeking help where ever I can.

I will definitely give the Certified Arborist a try! That's a great idea. I've already found three within a few miles. I'll schedule a visit and post if anything turns up. The only downside is the cost . . .


    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Good call on the html code. The only one I didn�t try.

No, the entire yard is not red mulch. This area has the kids� playground equipment. And I do have red mulch in the flowerbeds that are not next to the house and along the hedge line. Mulch is a necessity in Florida. It keeps the moisture from evaporating too quickly. Not sure how much you need it up north.

Next question, I only use weed killer in the natural section of the yard (away from these shrubs). This area hasn�t been graded.

No, my neighbors love me. The rest of my yard is exceptional. My lawn is as thick as the carpet in your living room. And I get compliments every day on how my yard always looks great. And no machinery on mulch; my lawn mower is the biggest equipment either way.

I tried only watering when I saw wilt, but it seemed to stress the plants way too much. In the summer, the heat of the way seems to do a number.

I fertilize every two months because I notice the leaves start to show the veins and they begin to fade to yellow. I was instructed to do so by my local nursery. Our soil composition is Florida is mostly sand (not rich soil like you have). It does lack nutrients quite a bit. But maybe like you said, the fertilizer could be an issue of stress.

I have tried a few things over the past two years. Watering only when needed, no fertilizer, soil transplant, peat moss, and I don�t trim this section any longer because it doesn�t grow at all. The rest of the hedges grow like weeds. I just trimmed two weeks ago and the tops are already shooting up.

Thanks for the help. Just trying to figure this out.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Sorry - I am pressed for time so will send you off searching for ....ligustrum + phymatotrichum root rot. This sounds like your problem. Also, search...ligustrum + verticillium wilt. Don't think this is your problem, but check out the symptoms.

Then, search...Actinovate + .....each of the two fungi mentioned above. Actiinovate is a fairly new organic fungicide which when used as a soil drench best helps to control root fungus problems.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Phymatotrichum root rot explains quite a bit. I've been finding the spore mats all over this area and I had no idea what they were until now. The descriptions and symptoms all seem to match up. It's a shame how uncontrollable this is.

I went ahead and ordered the Actinovate from a local supplier and will see how it works out. I'm hoping a good soil drench will do the trick. I'll just have to periodically treat the area to control it. And supposedly a soil sulfur will help also. I'll look into that a bit more.

I am planning to replace this area with some Holly in hopes that it will remain resistant to the disease and the rest of my shrubs will go unharmed.

Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:28PM
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