Joe Pye die back - just 1 of 2 plants. Any ideas?

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

I have 2 Joe Pye Weeds that I've had in this spot for 3 years. This year, one of them (they are growing side by side) looks terrible (yellow) and is stunted. I checked and don't see any obvious problem (like voles or insects). But I saw that the stems were turning brown/black from the base and working their way up - dying. Then the upper stems would break (I guess from no vascular activity).

Any ideas? This picture is of better days: last year.


Thumbnail by cedar18

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