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Wilting Photinia

We have a mature, trimmed photinia plant that has suddenly (over the last two weeks) started going very limp. It looks to be dying. All the leaves are hanging down and slowly going brown. There does not appear to be any sign of pests. We have tried giving it lots of water but it hasn't made any difference. Other plants near it seem fine... and other photinias in the district appear to be healthy. Unless it makes a remarkable recovery I think we have lost it. Do you have any idea what may have caused the problem, or any suggestions on how we might rescue a previously flourishing plant?


This sounds like a root disorder (likely to be Phytopthora). There is nothing that can be done for the tree; it will have to be removed. Often after a dry period then a wet spell, root-rot sets in. When plants wilt, the first thing we do is water it. If it hasn't perked up, then it is definitely a root disorder.

Photinias are of the roseacea family which are susceptible to Fire Blight, which is characterised by branches blackening and dying back (as opposed to wilting in this case). Infected branches can be cut back and prunings burnt to prevent the disease spreading. Spray with copper oxychloride.

However, in this case it doesn't sound like Fire Blight, it sounds like Phytopthora.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005