Help my Cleyera are dying!

dd dd at
Wed Sep 2 10:45:29 EST 1998

In article <Y_JG1.90$N64.41734 at>, "Roy"
<roy.kosin at> wrote:

> Help my cleyera are dying. Can someone please tell me what to do (details
> below) or a good place to find help.
> I planted about 10 Cleyera Japonica, 3 years ago. Each summer since then
> parts of the plants have died. I have not lost an entire plant just parts.
> It starts with a browning and wilting of the top leaves of a branch and soon
> spreads to the entire branch all the way to the ground. The rest of the
> plant looks healty. One plant is down to just one branch but new growth is
> coming from the bottom. All the plants have had at least one branch die. I
> live in SC and they are planted in part shade in a fairly wet area. The bark
> at the base of the branches that die has cracks, but I don't know if it
> happens before or after death.
> Thanks-*-Roy

Roy, we've had success growing this species in dry shade. Your disease
could be any number of things, so I can only venture a guess. In cool
moist soil you could be having one of the wilts (verticillium or
fusarium), but I'm not sure which of those two, if any, would affect
Cleyera. Nevertheless, it sure sounds like the symptoms match. You could
also have over-fertilized with nitrogen, and creates lush but wimpy new
growth that lacks the hardness to resist disease.

For starters, especially in shade, I would reduce the water, and water
only when the soil an inch below ground feels barely moist. Do NOT mulch
and let the soil dry faster and air out. Also understand that the less
light a plant gets, the less fertilizer (especially nitrogen) it's going
to need.

You may want to try a soil fungicide drench, but if you have one of the
wilts the prospect is not really the best. There is a product called
Phyton-27 which seems to help, but it's not a silver bullet. Perhaps once
you let the soil dry out a bit, although the plant may look a bit
stressed, you will create unfavorable conditions for the fungus to be
active, and the shrubs will gradually recover.

Good Luck!

David Deutsch
Gondwana Gardens

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