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Think I have a poorly Viburnum?

steve213steve213 Posts: 14
edited May 2019 in Problem solving
Hi all, 

Ultimately, this is to see if the Viburnum is on its last legs (pics attached) but here's the salient background:

1. I'm assuming it is a Viburnum from my own research so please correct me if not the case - only been gardening 2-3 years, so could easily be wrong!

2. Move in 8 years ago and it was 8 feet high, 10 feet spread, so appears to have been mature

3. House was built 19-20 years ago so it could have been here all / most of that time

4. One of the boughs broke 3 years ago so I trimmed it down to give it less work to do, thinking it would help with recovery

5. Started going downhill last year, (early spring from memory) so i mixed in around 30% John Innes to improve soil quality.

6. The dying leaves are on new growth as well as the old

Internet images from Shoot blight and Foliar Blight, leaf Spot, etc. look the same but with so many other possible options, thought it best to just ask people who are likely to know!

Any thoughts please? 

Posts

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,267
    I agree with you that it doesn't look at all healthy. it may well be that it has come to the end of it's natural lifespan, especially if it is possibly 20 years old. The fact that it started deteriorating before the heat of last summer makes me think old age could be the cause. You may have to remove it, see if you can dig out as much root as possible, improve the soil with lots of manure and then replant with a new bush you really like. Other posters though might have more advice.
  • steve213steve213 Posts: 14
    Lizzie27 said:
    I agree with you that it doesn't look at all healthy. it may well be that it has come to the end of it's natural lifespan, especially if it is possibly 20 years old. The fact that it started deteriorating before the heat of last summer makes me think old age could be the cause. You may have to remove it, see if you can dig out as much root as possible, improve the soil with lots of manure and then replant with a new bush you really like. Other posters though might have more advice.
    Thanks Lizzie. Mollycoddled it through the drought and over the winter so see if it would feel better but if its a natural end, that's OK. Intending to work in that corner this month so the timing is good in that respect
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639
    Although mature size, I would not class anything like 20 odd years old, especially Viburnums. It’s best to see a photograph of the whole shrub to see what it’s planted next to and also see the overall look.

    It may just need an annual prune to rejuvenate branches and limit spread of any fungal diseases that can linger on leaves and the base of the shrub. Any tall over-hanging trees may also affect its growth and cause leaf damage.

    What type of soil do you have there? From your description, it sounds like the shrub has struggled for a while. Sometimes, the soil might be too acidic for the plant. 
  • steve213steve213 Posts: 14
    This is how it looks now, Acer 5 feet away to the right added winter 2017/18, Cherry Blossom 5 feet to the left-front of it added 2-3 years ago, 1 Fern and 2 Hellebores 3 feet away from it, nothing in between them and the Viburnum.

    Ground was bark-mulched over winter (still in place)

    Photo is taken pointing due South but the shed / fence were there when we moved in (albeit both have been replaced with same-sized replacements) so I am assuming its getting enough light as it was healthy before.

    Have not grabbed a soil testing kit though ...

  • steve213steve213 Posts: 14
    Although difficult to see, it can be seen in the bottom right corner. Taken 7-8 years ago when we moved in, it had spread along the fence to around 10 feet wide, 4 feet 'deep' and 7-8 feet high although it grew higher over the summer months of course


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639
    Thanks for supplying some photos of the overall shrub size. It looks like there had been a fair amount of pruning back over the years. I assume this is due to re-fitting another shed? Or have you been pruning back due to branches looking ill, but they have not grown back? The tree on the left will crowd its space soon. 

    You could do something drastic. If you have the patience, prune the whole shrub back down to around a foot or two from the ground and wait to see how it grows back. This will test whether it deserves staying or not. When pruned like that, the shrub usually re-generate new fresh branches limiting over-wintering diseases.

    For the time being, remove all dead leaves from the base promptly to avoid re-infection.
  • steve213steve213 Posts: 14
    Yes, it was initially heavily pruned a few years back as was uneven and off balance. Had a health-driven prune last year too, removing the unhealthy looking branches

    Thanks Borderline, I like that idea. Give it a chance to regrow healthily on entirely new growth. Even if that fails in the worst case, it will have been worth a go
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