I have 3 large boxwoods that have been at the front of my house with no problems for the last 6 or so years. This year I've noticed that one of them is developing pale yellow leaves and the sections of the branches where these leaves are yellow seem to be drying out. I'd hate to lose it as I've been nursing this thing for the last 6 years from a small gallon sized pot.
Anyone have any ideas what could cause this and how/if there's anything I can do about it?
Boxwood branches turning pale yellow
Im not sure if this if your problem was the same as mine, but I have had that happen twice.
Once was because I had the house power washed and the spray bleach killed off sections or small branches that got hit with the spray. The bushes came back fine after I cut off the dead pieces.
The second time was moles that undermined some of my roots, and those sections died. I added dirt around the base of the bushes and stamped it down good, closing the mole tunnels. Then treated the area for moles. So far, so good.
Doesn't sound like what I have at all, although thanks for the info. I haven't even gone near the plants this year yet. I also don't think its animal related, as my boxwoods are right against the front of the house with a walkway next to them. I'm wondering whether it is frost related or in need of fertilizing. Its weird that only one got hit though...
It could be cold damage--did you have some weird cold weather this year? I know some parts of the country did. Even plants that are normally perfectly hardy can still suffer some damage if you get a sudden cold snap. If it only got one and not the others it could be that the others are in a slightly warmer microclimate or else maybe they were slightly healthier or better hydrated when the cold snap came through. The only other thing I can think of is sunburn--if you shear the hedge and all of a sudden leaves that used to be on the interior are all of a sudden exposed to sun then they can burn. But I would expect that to be more of a problem in the summer and it sounds like you haven't trimmed them recently so I'd guess cold damage is more likely.
It seems to be getting worse as the days go on. Could it be Japanese Beetle grubs? Or is it just in need of some fertilizer, as I've heard they are pretty hungry plants. The affected branches are drying out...
That's fairly typical of cold damage as well--at first it may not look like you have much damage at all but then over time it will gradually get worse and worse as the leaves die from the damage that was done--it often takes quite a while to know the full extent of damage that was done. Drying up and dying like that doesn't sound like too little fertilizer to me--sometimes if you give something too much fertilizer it can burn the leaves like that but if you haven't fertilized recently then that's unlikely.
Do you have some pictures of the whole shrub that would show how the dying parts are in relation to the healthy parts? That might help give people some more ideas if you're sure it's not cold damage.
Wow! That looks worse than I thought. Im not sure there is anyway to come back from that. "
She" looked so pretty and perfect, I wonder what it could be.
Was there any round-up or mass killer like that treated anywhere near her?
I hope you find out, I am all out of guesses, sorry.
No Roundup or anything like it. That's why I guessed beetle grubs. When it stops raining here I may go out and dig a little to see if I can notice any root damage. Other than that, I may hit the Miracle Gro to see it that has any effect...
Its been growing for 6 years without any problems through snow, ice, rain, drought...
Thanks for your help Chris.
I'd hold off on the fertilizer until you figure out the problem and get it healthy again--fertilizing plants that are under stress is not generally a good idea. My first thought seeing the whole shrub would be herbicide damage as well--doesn't look how I would have expected for cold damage. I'm not familiar with the pests/diseases that boxwoods are prone to though.
GreenGovnor, do you know if you have problem's with Gypsy Moth's in your area? I have seen damage shown here similiar to some of our white pine tree's due to these moth's. The (?/whoever) spray's for moth's in our area twice a year plus the National Forestry add's trap's throughout the area as well.
Here's some info on diseases of boxwood--the first three all have symptoms that seem similar to yours http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/plantdiseasefs/450-614/450-614.html
Thanks for your help everyone.
I did a bit of searching around and it looks like it may be boxwood canker:
All the symptoms match, and if this is so, there's not much I can do except prune back what I have left and spray with copper fungicide.
I'll spray my other two unaffected boxwoods just to be sure they don't catch it.
We live in south central Iowa and we have boxwood surrounding our patio. Two of five on one side of the patio look similar to GreenGuvnor's bush (the other three look wonderful) and all nine of the other side of our patio look like they have been spray painted gold all the way down to approximately three inches from the bottom of the bushes. We are attributing it to the severe winter--harsh cold winds and below zero temps, also they have no protection from the sun in the winter. What we want to know is what to do with them as far as reviving them. Trim them back (they're about four feet tall) :( and start over? Like you GreenGuvnor, we've nursed them many years and they're just looking great! Help! Thanks!
If the roots are healthy, they would come back if cut to the ground in early spring, but you would have to do it to all of them if you wanted them to stay the same scale.
Judging by your pictures and what I have seen repeatly in the gardens this year, its Boxwood Canker. Tip yellowing is normally winter dieback. Your boxwood displays the classic symptoms, first thing you should do is prune out the dieback, make sure you clean up any leaves below or on the boxwood the spores are spread through leave litter. There are chemicals available this problem is caused by a fungus any pruning tools you use should be cleaned before pruning any other plants.
I had the same problem years ago and trimmed out the yellowing/dead parts and the plant regenerated and is totally healthy.