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Hi all, I have a Forsythia at the top end of my garden that I cut back to the ground last year due to the fact that it was pretty neglected.

This year the growth has been ok but as I've been up there doing some work I've noticed that the trunk at the base is all black with a few white patches in it.

This seems to have made it weak with the branches basically falling off in my hand and the leaves are all wilted.

Does anyone have any idea what could cause this?

I know that it's been the wettest Summer in 100 Years and the soil in my garden is Very heavy Clay, I have no idea if this would contribute to it.

Here are some Pics










  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    It looks on its last legs.  I would be inclined to replace it.  Why not beg a cutting from a neighbour with a good-coloured bush next Spring?

    As to pruning; it is best practice to cut out one-third of the branches after they have flowered each year, then you will have a sucession of healthy new growth each season.

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,193

    I agree with Welshonion, I'm afraid.  Forsythia is prone to a certain amount of die-back in my experience.  And, yes, the rule of thumb of pruning about one third of a shrub each year is best but  you probably gave the poor old thing one helluva shock!

    Best course of action is to know when to admit defeat - and some plants reach the end of their natural life, and need to be culled anyway.

    Ask yourself if you really, really want forsythia.  It is a wonderfully bright harbinger of spring.  And dull, dull, dull the rest of the year, imo.   I didn't weep any tears when an inherited one turned up its toes on me! 

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Well it is quite well established and might be awkward to get out but I'll probably extend the flower beds to the top of the garden and dig it out if it doesnt show any sign of improvement.

    I've also noticed hundreds of tiny little red dots on the infected bits, they are not moving either as I thought they might be spider mites but they can't be.

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,193

    Tiny red dots = coral fungus.  Out with it instantly.  Dig over the soil and improve by adding compost or leaf mould.  Don't leave it to see what will happen - things need to be addressed, and the sooner the better!  Btw I found that the roots of a poorly forsythia were not that difficult to get out and deal with.  For all that it can become a large shrub, the root system is not that deep/extensive.  Well - mine wasn't, anyway!  Good luck!

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Did some research into that fungus and I can say for certain thats what it is image

    Guess its coming out when I get the chance after work this week or at the weekend.

    Thanks for the help.

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,193

    I hope it goes well for you.  I re-read my previous post, and it did sound a bit imperious!  Sorry - but the advice was, I trust, helpful.

    May I add that it would probably not be a good idea to re-plant with another forsythia in the same ground.  I see from an earlier post you thought you might extend the flower bed - so good luck with that.  Do let us know how you get on.

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Managed to get the Forsythia trunk out yesterday with a very persuasive pick axe to break up the soil around it :P

    There were tonnes of little roots and 1 main tap root but all in all considering the size of the thing it wasnt too bad.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,852

    Great - and cheaper than going to the gym - think of all those muscles you've honed and toned image

    Now you'll be digging some soil conditioner (compost/manure etc) into that area before you replant, won't you?

    What are you going to plant there?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Well first of all we will process the soil that came out from underneath it then I'll add a load of Compost to the mix. Going to make it a strawberry patch probably.

    I'll get a picture up shortly

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

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