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HELP! Mature garden devastation. Phytophthora, fungus?

Hi there,

something is reaping havoc - big trees, plants, bushes dead.  I think after this and googling, I now have honey fungus (growing out of a dead tree!) and also maybe phytophthora.

I have had bushes plants and trees (some 40 feet tall) die back over the last 2-3 years.  Maybe 20 or more so far...... It seems to be gaining momentum as what ever this is, reaping havoc across my garden, relentless.  My garden is 20 metres by 20 metres and it seems to be everywhere.  

It is a mature garden that i inherited when bought the was lovely, varied with some amazing specimens....also expensive!!  slowly now being devastated.   What do I do, I can see it killing off more wilting every week.  Currently its now taking down a 40 foot pine needle tree.   Last month a 40 foot wall paper tree fell over (with a ruined root system - white rotted) and crashed into my glass conservatory.   There seems to be no pattern on survivors yet....the only thing that died and is trying to revive, is a small palm.

Please help!?



  • It certainly sounds like it might be phtyophthora. What is the garden's drainage like? It has been very wet nearly everywhere and this will have helped the spread of if that is what it is. One of the few situations where honey fungus might be the better option!

    Hard as it may be, you will have to get in the tree surgeons to remove the larger trees that are showing symptoms, before they cause any more damage or risk injuring someone (or worse!) Take out and burn, if possible, anything else that appears to be suffering and then see if you can improve drainage in any waterlogged areas. Then I would wait and see for a while.

    If more plants succumb, you may need to have a complete rethink. The organism remains in the soil for years, so you may have to have  a potted garden, or raised beds isolated from the soil beneath and filled with bought in topsoil. As the garden is not huge you may still be able to achieve a satisfactory end result this way, even though it is not what you originally envisaged. I feel your pain, it is hard in this situation to see a happy future, but wish you the best of luck in your efforts.

  • Hi.  Thanks for the thoughts. 

    I actually have huge mushrooms growing out of one of the recent trees that died, so confirmed honey fungus I think.  Or both?!  

    Yes I have a dip in the lawn which I swear has increased over the last 2 years, The grass quality has dropped and on one sunken area, the grass has also almost died off, the ground feeling completely sodden.   I wonder what the best and cost effective way to improve garden drainage is?  The deaths have occured on high and low points of the garden though, so hard to tell ultimately what issues there are.

    Yes it is a shame.  I have acers which have grown over the years to tree like forms, 5-6 metres high.  Palms, lots I hope....will survive.  The garden really is or was packed with plantlife, visitors used to get lost walkiing around it impressed, like a "secret garden".

    I am about to spend my afternoon digging up stumps/ roots systems with a nice big fire!





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