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Ceanothus problem

turmericturmeric Posts: 828
Hello, does anyone know what might have caused most of the leaves on a ceanothus to have turned brown and dried up over the past few weeks?  The tree is about 10 years old and has been wonderful every year but this year it suddenly looks like this : 

There are a few flowers on some of the branch tips but most of the leaves are brown and dried up.  The branches are green under the bark though.  Any ideas anyone? 



  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 7,063
    Could be frost damage.  Mine had a few brown leaves after the cold spell but it's OK now.
    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • turmericturmeric Posts: 828
    Hi Yviestevie, I'm down in the Southwest so it's quite mild.  I did wonder though if the two spells of snow would damage the emerging leaves.  Could that happen on an established ceanothus? It looks like someone's thrown weedkiller at it!! (They haven't obviously).
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Were they green and only recently gone brown? or did they go brown shortly after the 'B from the E?
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • turmericturmeric Posts: 828
    They were green hogweed and have gone brown over the last few weeks.  We had snow at Easter so that might tie in.  I'm a bit confused that it's managed to flower on the tips though.  The lady at the garden centre said it was a fungus but I did initially think it was the very cold weather we had so late in the year.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,208
    I'd go for frost damage too.  I think the flowers and new leaves were in tight bud when the biting easterlies struck, and so were undamaged - the older evergreen leaves bore the brunt of the cold.  Hopefully it'll produce more leaves soon.

    In my neck of the woods most of the ceanothus, bay, rosemary etc are dead as doornails.  Other things like Photinia 'Red Robin' lost almost all their leaves but are producing new ones.  You win some, you lose some...
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • turmericturmeric Posts: 828
    Is it a case of watching for new leaves and hoping it survives or could the frost have killed it?  The trunk is about a foot in diameter so it's quite an established tree which I would hope means it can fight off frost damage?
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,208
    Well, it's certainly not dead yet... hopefully it'll survive, and it's certainly worth waiting to see if any more leaves are produced.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Bobby SprayBobby Spray Posts: 21
    wheras in scotland were it only got down to -17C and my Ceanothus still lives. These are quite short lived shrubs and mine has a few dead branches every year. A trunk a foot in Diameter - thats pretty impressive as mine must be 20 yeards and is only 4" in diameter. How tall is it?
  • turmericturmeric Posts: 828
    Hi Bobby, it's about 12 foot high and wide, it's a tree, it's beautiful (normally :().  I'll have to keep my fingers crossed for it. 

    So no-one thinks it's a fungus like the lady at the GC said?
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
    edited May 2018
    I’m on the south coast and ours suffered in the same way. I posted the following in March

    I’d forgotten we had a third plant and that was also in the same condition. Pleased to say that all 3 have recovered / recovering although some dead leaves are still in place. I was convinced they were dead and nearly cut them all down but the good folks on the forum proposed patience and am glad to say it was the right approach.
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