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Unknown woody shrub, looks like a fungal issue? Any help much appreciated!

Hi experts! Wondered if anyone could help me ID this plant as it appears to have a black discolouration on the woody stems. Do you think it could be diseased? If so would you recommended cutting back hard to encourage new growth? Thank you all very much. 


  • It looks like a tree peony to me, and those do look rough over winter.  There is definitely some dead wood which you need to remove, but don't do anything until it has fully leafed-up, so you can tell which bits are actually dead.  I can already see some buds and these will begin opening any time now.  The flower buds at the ends of the branches always look completely dead and shrivelled over winter.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • I think these suffer with horrible blackened areas because the leaves tend to die back and rot on the plant, or fall off but get lodged on the stems before dieing off.
  • Thank you both! I'll leave it well alone then till later in the year. Thanks!
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