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Problem with large cotoneaster

I have a large  old Cotoneaster frigidus 'Cornubia' ( I think). It is about 14 foot high with very attractive architectural type stems and a lovely canopy overhead, so is a great centrepiece for the border. It has been happily growing for the last 22+ years. However, this year I have noticed a lot of dead patches at the ends of branches with brown, dead leaves and some bare branches. It is also not as flower heavy as it usually is. I am used to it being semi-deciduous, but these are clearly dead patches. I am going to get up there and prune them out but I wondered if anyone knew why this has suddenly happened to it? has it been stressed by the weather this year or is it coming to the end of it's natural life? 

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325
    Hi @Motherdear - it's possibly both, although cotoneasters are very long lived, generally speaking, so it's more likely just down to weather. A long period, or periods, of drought can have an effect without it being obvious.
    Have you got a photo? That will help  :)

    The icon that looks like hills is the one for uploading. If you keep the pix smaller it makes it easier to upload them.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,729
    edited September 2021
    I have a large  old Cotoneaster frigidus 'Cornubia' ( I think). It is about 14 foot high with very attractive architectural type stems and a lovely canopy overhead, so is a great centrepiece for the border. It has been happily growing for the last 22+ years. However, this year I have noticed a lot of dead patches at the ends of branches with brown, dead leaves and some bare branches. It is also not as flower heavy as it usually is. I am used to it being semi-deciduous, but these are clearly dead patches. I am going to get up there and prune them out but I wondered if anyone knew why this has suddenly happened to it? has it been stressed by the weather this year or is it coming to the end of it's natural life? 
    Sounds exactly like what happened to mine in the Saving Private Cotoneaster thread.  I’ve cleared out everything underneath it, started watering it and will mulch it soon.  Good luck 🤞 

    https://forum.gardenersworld.com/discussion/1059436/saving-private-cotoneaster#latest

  • You can just see the dead ends to branches in this.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325


    I don't think that's anything to worry about. :)
    There's a lot of competition for moisture there - with all the other trees nearby, and with it being right next to the fence. It's a big specimen too, and although they're happy in quite dry conditions, sometimes it can be abridge too far. There's been lots of problems with established trees and shrubs especially conifers, in the last couple of years, and it's mainly down to prolonged periods of drought in many areas.
    Rainwater doesn't penetrate all the canopies of trees/shrubs easily either, so it can compound the problem. 
    I'd say it should be fine once the autumn/winter rains get into it, especially when that tree sheds it's foliage.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Is the decorative paving new?
    That could limit the water available to the tree.
    Sunny Dundee
  • Thanks, the paving is actually 12 years old. We are on a pine ridge so i am used to trying to keep things alive with soil that is virtually sandy dust - mulching and watering etc. (fab rhododendrons, though). It has survived where it is with the conifers and fence for over 20 years so I think it maybe needs a bit of geriatric TLC this year!
    thank you for the reassurance. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325
    Unless there's some obvious damage somewhere, I think it's ok . The damage is all at the tips which suggests lack of moisture. 
    Fingers crossed anyway!
    Rhodos are fine on sandier soil as they're shallow rooted, and sandy soil is often slightly acidic which suits them well, so as long as they have enough water, they're less likely to get affected.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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