I've had a ceanothus for 25 years or more but today it looks very dry, withered and almost dead. Algae is growing on the branches. I'm thinking it's probably dying - how long are they supposed to live? Any advice much appreciated.
25 years for any shrub is good going, but from your description it sounds like yours is going the way of all things and checking out. If there is any suitable cutting material there I'd take some, they root readily so replacing it won't be a problem. Once it has finally given up the ghost, I'd dig it up and replenish the soil and either put another in it's place of something different. Everything has a life span so I wouldn't be unhappy about it's performance.
Do you know what variety of Ceanothus it is? I would be tempted to cut it down and see if it regrows and vigour.
Can't remember the name of it (too long ago) - but it looks like Autumnal Blue. It grows (grew!) upright and then sort of cascaded like a weeping willow.
Thank you for all your replies.
I've cut parts of it back about 6 - 8" or so and the branches aren't looking exactly dead on the inside . Will give it until the autumn to see what happens to it.
I had one do the same in a garden I work in, normally it's winter or should I say prolonged frosts that get them, and pruning out the dead would usually see them recover, for the next winter to get them. But this one survived the last two winters and decided to give up late spring this year, some of the branches seemed rotten at ground level and pulled away when removing but the main trunk is still in solid til I dig it out proper in winter, but defo ded!
It was more than 10 years old, in a sunny south facing spot and would get a hair cut every time after flowering, the only other factor may have been a blocked drain flooding nearby that could have made it too wet in spring!