Year-old photinia "red robin" hedge looking sick

Hi, I planted a new hedge photinia "red robin" against the wall at the bottom of our garden last year. Some of the plants in the corner are doing really well, but the majority of them are looking very sparse. They've lost most of their bottom leaves, the stems are quite weak and the leaves that remain are pale in colour, compared to the darker green of the thriving plants. They are growing from the top but look very bare. I've treated with vine weevil killer after spotting what I think are larvae. Will the plants come back? What am I doing wrong? The site is sunny and semi-sheltered, although it has been a very windy winter. We planted them last April so cold spring + very hot, dry summer. Thanks for any advice!



  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Sarah, my shrub/ tree is about 10 years and it also looks a bit sick with leaves dropping at the bottom, growth higher up is improving. I think mine has been waterlogged, I've raked some blood, fish, bone at the base and will see what happens to it.

    Hope someone else can help you.

  • My photinia was massacred by vine weevil last spring. lots of holes and notches cut out of the leaves. 

  • My photinia looks as if it has died all leaves dead and bare.  I have just been out in my garden recently and noticed it.  It has been thriving in its position for 15+ years.  Is there any hope that it may recover or am I better removing it. Normally at this time of year it is coming into a lovely bloom of red.  Very surprised considering we have had a mild winter in the UK.

  • Digweed2Digweed2 Posts: 3

    I have a very similar situation. I have 6 photinias around the garden & one of them has suddenly become decidedly sick. Three days ago it was fine,now the growing tips have drooped & the leaves are turning brown by the hour. I don't know if there is a connection but I had a magnificent clump of lupins which did exactly the same & a penstemon appears to be following them. They are all planted within a couple of metres of each other. Delphiniums in the same area seem fine. I have carefully examined the root systems of all the affected plants & they seem ok with no sign of disease. Anybody any ideas?

  • Vine weevil grubs? I know you've checked roots, but it only takes a couple to decimate the trunk roots of a plant, which then literally fades and dies in a couple of days...I should know image
  • Digweed2Digweed2 Posts: 3

    Thanks for that I'll have closer look

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,400

    Not having the time to research,  does anyone know how long they stay as grubs, beore turning into adults, the nematode people say to put them on in Spring and Autumn, shouldnt this mean the grubs arent active.  I still picked one out of a pot the other day.

    Seems they are constantly in the grub stage.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • Sadly I have some experience of these nasty little critters, which often over wintered very nicely in my London garden...

    they usually overwinter as grubs, then (unless it has been a very mild winter, in which case they could be destructive earlier), they'll usually become active in Spring, eating everything they can find close by. Apparently they don't travel far from the host plant mummy laid them in image

    They then hatch as beetles over the summer and start laying eggs - up to 1000 a season. The bad news is that they're also all females!

    so by spring, the grubs are nice and plump, getting plumper by the day and raring to go - that's why nematodes work best then...and in autumn to catch the early young grubs or the other ones from spring you may have missed.

    I profoundly hate them.

    can you tell? image

    But I have to say that if you keep on top of them twice yearly with nematodes, it does work.

    i also use provado but ONLY on containerised plants (particularly vulnerable to weevils) and only for non-edibles and plants that are not pollinated or don't have obvious flowers. I am very scared of harming bees and this is the first year I have used provado (I blame Verdun, who swears by it image) in my life.

    but I did get very sick of seeing more vulnerable plants die...not from weevil necessarily, but all- round 24/7 attack by RSM, leaf miners, aphids and everything. Fed up!


    good luck 


  • I too have a 'part' sickly photinia this year, planted seven years ago. Gave it a light prune a couple of months ago as it was getting too tall and straggly. All was going well until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that all the new growth and shoots were dying back and leaves drooping down...but only on the right side trunk of the shrub, the left side is growing healthily, leaves turning green and shiny. It looks so weird as it's all the same plant. I've picked off a few curled leaves that had caterpillar cocoons (the brown hairy type which nested in it last year,and I managed to eradicate) but apart from that I'm really puzzled by this 'half' die back.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or comments please, could it be that vine weevil could be responsible for just attacking one side of theshrub and would it spread to the other half? Thank you


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