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Wilted Burning Bush

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#1 Guest_heidisusan_*

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 10:02 AM

I have a large Burning Bush in my backyard that I have not pruned in several years. It is about eight feet tall and six feet wide, with no other plants crowding it, although it is about two feet from the fence, on it's backside.

The leaves have been wilting the past couple of summers, starting at the top, in July, and moving down the shrub. Right now it is worse than ever. The bed where it lives gets watered regularly, and the soil has good drainage and plenty of organic material, including the 3X-shredded pine bark. It gets 6-8 hours of sun a day, in the summer.

I checked Dirr and my shrub disease book; nothing mentioned that would cause the leaves to wilt. Also looked at the neighbor's garden, behind the fence: mostly weeds, and a zebra grass. (thought maybe something was inhibiting the roots on that side?) A check of both sides of leaves and the stems with a magnifier showed nice, clean, otherwise healthy-looking leaves.

Could the roots not have grown enough to support the growth on top? I can't think of why else the leaves would be trying to conserve moisture... Thanks!
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#2 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich
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Posted 09 October 2004 - 03:59 PM

Did they wilt and come back after a while? Or did they wilt, dry, turn brown and die, along with limbs? So the dead branch has tan/white leaves hanging on it.

Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is known for that latter sudden, mysterious wilt and death, in part or in whole. I have yet to find anyone to say they know just what causes it although some say they do see it more after drought years than other times. I have seen it often. Sometimes you cut out the part that wilts and the rest is fine, and fills in. Other times the whole thing dies completely.

Check the roots for vole activity, the leaves for signs of black vine weevil feeding -- either pest can weaken the plant by destroying roots.

Macunovch, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening
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