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Pyracantha Problems :#


Up until last Autumn my Pyracantha always flowered and fruited incredibly well.

Last Autumn, less so, and birds seemed less interested in the berries.

Whilst it actually looks very healthy, there are a few things that suggest there may be some underlying problems...

About two thirds of the fruit that is forming looks like it's already going bad.

I have found in the odd location what looks like a green fungus.

Also, the centre of some leaves looks white/yellowed - I assumed this was from larvae etc, but I could be wrong.

Pictures as follows:

Any ideas? The overall plant looks quite lush and happy, but these could be warning signs.

I've been careful to tend to the bush, clearing out most dead wood, opening up space for 'air circulation' avoiding crossing branches etc.

Also, it's a shame to miss out on the berries again as year after year this bush has produced an abundance of fiery red berries during the autumn. 


  • FireFire Posts: 17,338
    edited July 2018
    I would say that the 'green fungus' is actually lichen. It can suggest a stressed shrub or tree, possibly due to drought. The lichen doesn't harm the plant. Have you been watering it?
  • Fire said:
    I would say that the 'green fungus' is actually lichen.
    I was literally just looking that up - looks just like this stuff:

    As for the berries, could be scab... If that's the case, considering how many other plants I have around and below the Pyracantha, I wonder how at risk they are?  :/
  • FireFire Posts: 17,338
    I edited above post.
  • I almost never directly water it since it's growing through concrete! Very difficult to get to its roots - in my five years here, I've never once directly watered it.

    Interestingly enough, however:

    "Lichens tend to be very sensitive to pollution, absorbing toxic compounds that fall on the them in polluted rain or fog.  Urban areas tend to be nearly devoid of lichens for that reason."

    Good news is that I clearly live in a relatively clean area!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,338
    I have yellow lichens on my roof in London. I always mean to find out more about the lichen/pollution connection. It's a very huge group of organisms, so I would expect some are more sensitive than others...
  • Is anyone able to comment as to whether this may be scab? If so, will I have to remove all affected stems/branches etc?

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    It does look like Scab to me, but without seeing the whole bush and how it's growing, it's hard to say for sure. Do you have spots on leaves, or leaves dropping more than usual? Sometimes, flowering can be short and most of them don't form properly. Any fruit will look dry and shrivelled.

    It does sound like you may either have one that is not really resistant to this type of infection, or the shrub is under stressed. They may need feeding and watering, particularly in hot dry periods. I recommend you rake off dead leaves around the base to limit re-infection and spread, and start pruning out the infected areas in late autumn to winter time. You may lose flowering, but it's more important to check for die-back on branches and prune out those areas especially.
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