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Euonymus standard help

Hi all, a friend has given me this in the hope I can rescue it but I haven't a clue what's wrong with it so any help would be appreciated please. It's lost all leaves up top but new growth at the bottom and a couple of stems on the main branch. As you can see from the photos branches have been lost leaving a "pit". So far all I have done is cleared the top soil and added some compost as I am at a loss as to what to do. Clearly needs repotting/putting in the ground, but until I can establish if this is a disease or not, or even possible to save, I am loathe to do anything. Any help you can give would be great. Thanks in advance 


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,449
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the wood at the top looks dead.  Have you tried the scratch test?  Gently scrape off a bit of bark. If it's green and moist-ish underneath, there's hope for new growth.  If it's brown and dry, it's dead at that point so try again lower down.  There's no point in leaving dead wood on it, but if you cut back to where it's alive and keep it moist (not drowning) it should re-sprout from below (it's already trying, on its own). It won't be a standard any more though.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Thanks @JennyJ, no I haven't tried that, I will give it a go thank you. Fingers crossed
  • If it does revive is there any way it could be retrained as a standard?
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,449
    I think all you could do is take the lowest new shoot and tie it in vertically up a cane or stake until it reaches the desired height, then take off the growing point to encourage branching to make a new "head".  You'd need to prune back the old trunk immediately above the selected new shoot so there'd always be a dogleg at that point. Unless you are lucky and get a new shoot from below the compost level!
    The other potential issue is if the old head was grafted on, what regrows would be a different variety.  I don't know whether standard euonymus are grafted and I can't tell from the picture, but your regrowth is variegated which is probably a good sign.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • That's great advice thank you so much 
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