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Mixed hedge diseases


I am new to gardening so any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Earlier this year I planted a small mixed hedge consisting of 14 bare root whips.  I treated the roots with Rootgrow Mycorrhizal Fungi and they have grown well over the year.  However most types, if not all, are now diseased.   These range from what looks like powdery mildew, yellow / brown spots on the leaves, leaves turning yellow and falling off and I think it’s the Bird Cherry whose leaves are brown, crispy and shrivelled up.  I can provide photo’s if that helps.

The plants are:

Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris), Guelder Rose (Viburnam opulus), Bird Cherry (Prunus padus), Blackthorn (Prunus spinose), and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Can anyone please give me advice as to why this has happened and what I can do about it? 

Many thanks



  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639

    If you can post a picture of all the plants, that would help more. Disease can mean a number of issues and each plant may have different issues.

    I'm assuming the bare rooted shrubs/trees were planted in winter or early spring? Getting the best start means making the soil structure free draining and the base of plant mulched with good compost or bark chip mulch.

    It's important all plants are watered continuously throughout the year. Powdery mildew are signs of a plants drying up through lack of water. Spots can be caused through poor growing conditions to lack of air-flow around the plant, therefore allowing fungal growth.Crispy shrivelled leaves can be a combination of early shut-down of plants due to lack of water or scorching from the sun where the leaves are damp, or even chemical burn/damage.

  • Thank you for your reply. I planted them late March this year. I recall doing a lot of research about how to plant them and I would have followed this. I think I used compost and manure. They are planted in my front garden where the ground is very dense soil.  I excavated a lot of this before planting. I knew they needed a lot of water but maybe I've under estimated how much? Could planting them too close thogether cause these problems? 

    My camera is struggling to focus but hopfully you can see some of the issues. Sorry some of the pictures aren't the correct way up. 






  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964

    Hello fraggle789

    Borderlines advice and tips are as excellent as ever ; you have obviously researched before planting .

    To me 2017 has been a summer of extremes ; excessive rainfall (good for new plantings) , extreme heat (not good for new plantings)image .

    Years ago I planted two massive hedges alongside my garden perimeters (200'+ long each side) ; The first year I watered incessantly as summers in the '90s were pretty hot ; I never had problems with mildews or disease etc. My hedges contain a vast array of native shrubs/trees and exotic introductions , they are about 5' - 6' across now , overplanted with what are now five mature birch trees .

    I am convinced that the sheer diversity of species , combined with abundant insect and bird-life , plus excellent airflow around the hedges , has kept problems at bay . l Iike to think of them as a self-contained symbiotic ecosystem .

    It may be advisable to carry on watering your new plants through the winter months , and commence feeding with a low-nitrogen fertiliser in the spring .

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639

    Thanks for sending the pictures. I don't think there is anything there that is to be concerned about at this stage. As Paul B3 advises, continue to water from now till winter time, and resume in spring time. They are all tough plants especially the lovely Hawthorn. If given a good start with the soil structure, they will eventually settle in provided they don't dry out too much. 

    The weather has been dry at the beginning part of the year, so anyone that has planted new shrubs and trees in will probably be facing similar problems now as recent excess wet will then cause waterlogging and fungal growth.

    Always lay a new layer of mulch every spring time. Not only does it suppress some weeds, it will be adding to the soil structure for future years.Young shrubs need stable conditions. That means not too hot or not too cold. Not too wet and not too dry.  Mulching generously will help. Once established after two or three years, shrubs will settle and be tougher.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,292

    I'd agree with the others here Fraggle. It's a combination of factors, but nothing too drastic. Planting at that time of year was probably not ideal, because in most areas, it's starting to warm up and dry out. All those plants will need a fair bit of moisture too, and if you have lots of them, there's more competition for it.

    Keep up the watering and mulching etc, and I'm sure by spring, you'll see better establishment and then good new growth. If you get the odd gap where something doesn't make it, don't worry, as the other plants will soon knit together over the following year or two.

    Alternatively, if there are any biggish gaps by next summer, and you feel it's a problem, you can always get a couple of whips next autumn to put in the gaps. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,376

    I wouldn't worry too much if they're all still alive. All those sick looking leaves will drop soon and you'll get a new lot next year. You can cut off any pits that don't regrow next year.

    They're all tough hardy natives which put up with a lot. The V. opulus seems to require more moisture than some in my experience though it doesn't die, just looks depressed.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,292

    Nothing worse than a depressed viburnum, nut  ....image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Just shows what my rainfall has been like. Mine is looking positively cheery! image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,376
    Fairygirl says:

    Nothing worse than a depressed viburnum, nut  ....image

    See original post

     Quite, Fairy. Except maybe a depressed gardener. image

  • Thanks so much for your help everyone. I had a horrible feeling I'd have to dig them up and start again. I will follow the advice and fingers crossed they will bounce back. 

    Can I ask what is the best mulch to use? It has a thick layer at the moment but I will refresh this as advised.  

    Also, the hedge needs to be quite low. When is the best time to prune it? Again I've done a lot of research on how to get a shorter bushier hedge but I really want to ensure I don't do any more damage. 

    Thanks again 

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