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elaeagnus drooping and turning yellow.

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help! i planted an elaeagnus hedge last autumn and this spring the plants are gradually turning yellow and the leaves drooping. Can anyone advise what's happening? Thanks

elaeagnus drooping and turning yellow.

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  • Views: 15936
  • Replies: 7
  • Posted: Fri. 23rd April 2010 12:22

Possible suggestions

Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Sharron,

It's difficult to know the cause of your problem for definite, but I would speculate that it may be as a result of either nutrient deficiency, or a more serious problem - verticillium wilt.

What is your soil like? Do any other plants struggle with nutrient deficiencies in your garden? As you've just planted the hedging you should feed it every spring til it's established, using a slow release fertiliser. If the soil is fairly dry I'd also maybe mulch the area to improve water retention and prevent nutrients being leached away.

Verticillium wilt is a bit more difficult. A way of identifying this is to snip a woody stem and see if there are any black marks on the tissue inside. If there are, then this is likely to be the culprit. The advice when faced with verticillium wilt is fairly drastic, involving removal of the entire affected plant. I'd therefore get an expert opinion before doing anything if you do fear this to be the case! Taking a cutting to the supplier that you bought the plants from may be a good place to start.

Hopefully it will be a simple case of a good feed and mulch. Do let us know how you get on.

Katy

  • Posted: Fri. 23rd April 2010 15:33

verticillium

Reply from sharron stott

Thanks Katy,
I had a fear it may be verticillium wilt but wasn't sure how to test for it. The plants began to change colour in feb/march of this year, gradually one plant after another. There are still some healthy looking ones in the row and on the other side of my garden where i planted some Elaeagnus they are all fine. i added bonemeal at the base when i planted them and mixed multipurpose compost in with existing soil which is quite clay like. I added a top dressing of dry garden fertiliser mix last month when i noticed the decline of the plants, this doesn't seem to have made any difference as the plants are still on the decline. Therefore, as some of the plants are doing fine i can only conclude that it must be the plant and not the ground with the problem.

I broke off a stem to look at the inside as you suggested, and it doesn't have black marks on the inside although on the outside of the stem there are tiny brown spots much more pronounced than on the healthier looking plants.

Unfortunately I cannot get them tested by the supplier as i bought them online and i can't remember the website details!

Can you recommend a good slow release fertiliser? Also, if it is verticillium is the ground ok to put replace the plants or is that infected to?

Many thanks
Sharron

  • Posted: Mon. 26th April 2010 14:53

What next

Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Sharron,

It sounds like you've done everything right in terms of giving the plants the right conditions, so I'm afraid I'd have to agree with you that it is likely to be a disease contracted by the plant.

Unfortunately verticillium wilt is harboured in soil, so planting another susceptible plant there would be a waste of money and effort. The best thing you can do is to remove the plant and replace it with a resistant alternative. Plants that are particularly known for their resistance to the disease and may make a suitable alternative for your hedging are hawthorn, beech, willow or any coniferous plant.

Obviously this is quite a drastic solution, so I would definitely get it professionally diagnosed before doing anything! If you are a member of the RHS they offer a pest and disease identification service, see here for info: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Help-advice/RHS-Advisory-Service/How-to-send-samples-for-identification-and-examina

I hope this helps, and good luck!

Regards
Katy

p.s. a good slow release fertiliser is Osmoform.

  • Posted: Mon. 26th April 2010 19:16

Willow alternative

Reply from sharron stott

Katy,

So it would seem i'm going to have to replace with a resistant alternative and i like the idea of willow. I guessing i'm too late in the season for planting bare willow rods in ground? Do you know if you plant willow strips all year round?

My border is approx 14"/34cm deep and 5 meters long. As you can see from photo i have open slatted fence and need privacy and wind shelter screen. Will start looking for willow alternative now. Feel gutted that i wasted time and money on Elaeagnus though ;(

Thanks for your help, it's been really useful.
Sharron

  • Posted: Mon. 26th April 2010 20:58

Hedge options

Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Sharron,

Willow should be planted between November and March. It can make a lovely informal hedge, and its spring catkins and colourful winter stems mean that it offers interest all round.

The only problem I can see with this in terms of your needs is that to achieve a good density willow hedges are best planted staggered in two rows. To do this you would pretty much have to double the depth of your border. A single row may give you a slightly sparser result, and might not offer the dense screening properties you're after. If you think this may be a problem, beech is a better option as a single row of this can give fairly dense screening. Again you'll have to wait a while before you can plant this - the experts say anytime after the leaves have fallen (i.e. mid-autumn).

In the meantime you could try putting some container plants there to fill the void? I'd try putting some mulch matting as a barrier between the soil and the container. Not only will this help to protect the container plant from any verticillium wilt, but it's also a great way of suppressing weeds and preparing the ground for your new hedge planting.

Please do get a second opinion about your elaeagnus first though, it is difficult to be certain of the problem from one photograph, and I would hate you to do anything drastic unnecessarily!

Keep us posted on your progress.
Good luck!
Katy

  • Posted: Tue. 27th April 2010 17:47

the plan

Reply from sharron stott

I found out who my supplier was and called them today. They said it sounds like frost damage. This could be a possibility, as the plants mainly affected get the early morning sun. So i've decided to give the plants a little more time. I have cut out all the damaged stems to see what new growth appears like. Then if still no improvement i'll whip them out and replace with other type of plant in autumn.
I'll let you know the outcome.

Sharron.
p.s Have added another photo.

the plan

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  • Posted: Tue. 27th April 2010 20:35

photo

Reply from sharron stott

you can see the healthier plant next to sad one!

photo

Click image to enlarge

  • Posted: Tue. 27th April 2010 20:39