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Viburnum burkwoodii

Dear Gardeners World,
I am concerned about my approx 30 year old Vibernum burkwoodii. Following Adam Frost’s advice on a programme in 2020, I lifted its crown by removing lower branches, as it was taking over a lot of space in my front garden. Unfortunately now, many of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I know it does shed some leaves at this time of year, but this year there does seem to be a lot. Could it be diseased?  I have heard of a fungal disease called root rot. Could it be that? Please could you tell my what you think and whether the plant is doomed. 

Yours sincerely 
C Bessant 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,041
    It's not really possible to tell much from the photo unfortunately.
    It's probably just shedding foliage, which they tend to do in colder spells. Mine was always quite bare in winter.  :)

    However, at that age, it may well just have reached the end of it's life. I'm not sure how old they can get.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,558
    You can prune viburnum burkwoodii quite hard if needed so I doubt that lifting the crown has affected it.   I would be inclined to keep an eye on it this winter and prune out any dead, damaged or diseased looking stems before the end of January when the sap will start rising again.   Look out too for crossing branches that may be rubbing each other as this will cause wounds which can let in infections form viruses and bacteria.  Don't prune on days when frosts are expected as they can damage newly cut tissue.

    On a day when the soil beneath it is good and moist, remove any weeds you see growing and give it a good mulch of well-rotted manure/compost/soil conditioner.  Make sure you leave a wee gap around the base of the main trunk to avoid rotting and then leave it for the worms and other soil organisms to work into the soil.   In spring, when buds are starting to open, give it a feed of slow release fertiliser for roses, tomatoes or flowering shrubs to encourage good flowers and foliage.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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