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Cotoneaster tree with persistent disease?

Got a cotoneaster tree of a variety I am not sure of that was planted in the garden before I moved here that is infected with a persistent disease (possibly fire blight or bacterial canker). It manifests as dead new growth that is particularly noticeable at the moment. I have tried to counteract it with cutting out the effected branches in previous years but it has impacted the tree again this year with the over all appearance of the tree looking very unhealthy. The flowers are still attracting bees but the leaves and shoots on the top of the tree are looking very diseased and dead. I have already lost a young tree planted nearby that is likely to have caught the same disease from this tree that is not doing well. Am I better off just killing the diseased tree and planting something that will use the space better and if so when is the best time to kill off the unhealthy cotoneaster? Thanks for any advice or opinions.

Happy gardening!

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  • clematisdorsetclematisdorset Posts: 1,192
    Hello, @robairdmacraignil , I saw your question from a while back, and wondered what happened? Also did you find out what variety it was please?
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • Hi @clematisdorset , just saw your message now. The tree is still doing OK with maybe less diseased branches this year since I have been continuing to cut them out when I see them dying back. There are also other Cotoneaster trees that have self seeded about the garden and some seem to be effected by the same issue which I think is a bacterial canker. I just cut it out when I see it and I'm not sure if it is the same issue that has caused a similar die back in branches of Viburnum tinus. 

    Not sure what the Cotoneaster variety is but it seems similar to Cotoneaster cornubia. I also have lots of what looks like Cotoneaster franchetii that is more like a shrub that self seeds about the place but the same disease only has a very minor impact on this type. Birds and pollinators seem to like them anyway so will very likely keep them growing in places since the priority in the garden here is looking after wildlife which I find to be the nicest aspect of the garden as it matures..

    Happy gardening

  • Thanks @robairdmacraignil that is encouraging to hear. I agree the birds and wildlife are a big factor in my choosing plants. I still have a space for one Cotoneaster. There is  now an unhealthy looking Pyracantha in a nearby garden to me and I am now wondering if it has an illness that might spread to mine, but that is another topic. I had complete die-off of a new Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Watanabe' this year in a shady area of my garden, so I am a bit wary in general now.
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • Thanks @robairdmacraignil that is encouraging to hear. I agree the birds and wildlife are a big factor in my choosing plants. I still have a space for one Cotoneaster. There is  now an unhealthy looking Pyracantha in a nearby garden to me and I am now wondering if it has an illness that might spread to mine, but that is another topic. I had complete die-off of a new Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Watanabe' this year in a shady area of my garden, so I am a bit wary in general now.

    Sorry to hear about the Viburnum plicatum @clematisdorset. Its difficult to predict what plants will just not take to a new planting position and some of the ones that fail I think are down to the way the plants were treated in the nursery or somewhere along the supply chain. I have had a good number of plant failures and now just look at them as an opportunity to plant something else. I like to see it as my garden is simply fitting in with the usual survival of the fittest theory that Darwin was famous for writing about.

    Happy gardening!
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