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Photinia hedge dying

I planted a hedge of pleated photinia red robin 5 years ago. Three of the trees are wilting and appear to be dying off. I have fed watered and mulched them this year without much success in reversing the decline. Has anyone any ideas on how I can save the trees?


  • yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
    Can you post some photos, please?
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    I can see a tie which is far too tight and may well be strangling your plant and preventing nutirents/sap from rising to the rest.  Cut it asap and use soemthng looser and gentler and see if that helps it recover.   Check the rest of your pleached trees too.  Do not feed now apart, maybe, from gently forking in a handful of boenemal around the base of each one as this helps with root growth and plant health.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
    I agree with Obelixx comments.
    What is your soil like? Is it water retentive or free draining? You say you have fed, watered and mulched this year, have you done the same in previous years, especially the first year they were planted.
    I presume they were quite large specimens initially. Possibly imported from Italy ( I've seen the nurseries out there).  If so the plants would have been lifted from the ground and been potted. The roots may have been damaged and the plant suffered as a result, only showing real problems now.
    I do hope you can rescue them. It may be worth contacting the supplier, he/she  may offer a guarantee on large specimens.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    Perhaps the droughts experienced in many areas, last year and this, have had an effect too.
    Normally, once a large shrub/tree has been established - a year or so - you'd expect it to be ok, but people have had mature trees dieing off. Knock on effect of a couple of years of low rainfall, and of course, with anything evergreen, rain often doesn't penetrate the ground well when it does appear.  :/  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for the helpful comments and advice. Strange thing is that the trees either side are fit and thriving! I have removed the ties and I hope that this will help. The trees were imported from Holland and after five years I wouldn’t expect the supplier to honour any guarantee. Although we watered them regularly during the drought periods maybe it wasn’t enough.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    Mature size shrubs will always be a gamble. Even with vigilant watering and mulching, the roots normally find it hard to adapt. Coupled with recent droughts, the shrubs are struggling.

    I don’t understand why so many garden centres and nurseries are selling such huge size Photinias trained in ready-pleached fashion. They need bulking up before training. They don’t suit this type of growth either. Anyone wishing to have something similar should buy smaller size shrubs to then slowly train. That way, they bulk up and adapt slowly minimising wind-rock etc.

    These shrubs are very vulnerable to winds and exposed areas. Very often without back protection, they struggle and end up losing a lot of their leaves. I think it’s a combination of mature shrub struggling to adapt. Wind and lack of water resulting in  very different looking shrubs at different stages of stress. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    You'll have to wait and see how it does next spring now but, should it fail, the branches from the ones either side can be allowed to extend to cover the gap tho this may take some time.    Whatever you do, don't prune the ends of their horizontal stems till you know if the sickly one has recovered.

    In drought or heatwave conditions, each one needs at least a big bucketful, poured slowly so it soaks in, every few days.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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