Whats causing my Privets to die?

doogisarOctober 5, 2013

Hello, I am new to this forum and have decided to ask you guys for help. About three months ago our row of Privets on our South side of our house have by dwindling and don't know why. We have taken samples to different nurseries and they don't have any answers. We have had them beautiful for many years and now they have almost died. we haven't done any changes in our watering cycle or used any fertilizer. Seems just a few months ago they were full and now they are really bad off and I don't know what to do to help them. Any help will be very appreciated. Thanks. I have more pictures but the site only allows my to upload only one. I can send more if requested.

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another picture

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Another Picture

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Another Picture

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:38PM
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One is starting to grow leaves again but they are curly.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Privets - Ligustrum sp. - are pretty tough plants and not prone to a lot of problems. However, there are a couple of things that can be checked out......honey fungus (Armillaria), a fungal root rot that is overly fond of privets; and botryosphaeria, a broad fungal pathogen that can result in blighted or dead foliage, cankers, tip and stem dieback and often death of the entire plant.

It's a bit too remote to diagnose the problem accurately online. Suggest you take representative samples (including lower stem cuttings) to your local county extension service for a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

The appearance of the plants is also somewhat indicative of the possibility of chemical damage.....any chance anyone/someone might have blasted these guys with a herbicide?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 3:50PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Possible herbicide damage.

Any chance of Roundup used near or around the shrubs in the past year?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 6:36PM
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The third picture down looks as if there is a heavy infestation of some sort of aphids on the back of the leaves. But the distortion,especially of the growing tips does look like herbicide damage. Has the lawn been treated?

Were they cut back before or after they started looking sick?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 5:57AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Or was the shrub bed treated? (It looks very clean.) Or the other side of the fence?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Hi, There was a confrontation with my wife and the neighbor to the south, right along the shrub line. So it is possible that she might have sprayed something on them. My wife sent a sample away and they came back with "chemical" but they didn't elaborate what that meant. so I thought maby some of the fertilizer for the lawn got on them and had a bad reaction. The lawn was only treated with general lawn fertilizer.

We have upped the water dosage to try to flood out what ever might have caused this. I figure it would be a better alternative than just to see them die. We also replaced the mulch with a chopped rubber mulch about the same time as we noticed them dieing off. We now are removing the rubber mulch and replacing it with new wood chip mulch to try and keep the moisture in the ground instead of the water just running off. I am also thinking about trying a fungus treatment on them as well but yet to do so. If they die off totally then they will need to be replanted and it will take a chance of eroding the property since just past the fence is a steep down hill to on the neighbors property. My wife has had the property for 15yrs and never had a problem with them before this.

Thank you guys for all your comments, hopefully I have given you guys some good info to your questions and you can help me what to do next.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:56AM
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one more of the Shrub line.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:59AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

With all the things you're trying, or want to try, you may kill them with excess kindness.

A lab can determine if the damage is biotic (critter-caused) or abiotic (environmental or chemical.).
A lab can't determine which chemical may be responsible unless typical symptoms of such damage are known.

If damaged by Roundup -- the clusters of short stringy new growth point to that -- leaching the soil won't help.

If damaged by an herbicide of any kind:
- the shrubs need to time to grow out of the chemical effects. (Without your interference.) Lot of time,possibly more than a year.
- Excess water can drown the roots of shrubs which are at low function (and these are).
- fertilizer won't help.
- Neither will "fungus" treatments.
- Replacing the rubber mulch with wood chips is a good choice.

Oh yes, while you wait to see what the hedge does next -- and beyond -- only friendly interaction w/ the neighbors

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:51AM
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