Dying photinias could be a multitude of problems

We lost a 20-year-old red-tipped photinia a couple months ago. The leaves wilted and turned brown and it just died. We took it out and accepted the loss, but now a neighboring photinia is doing the same thing. We don't want to lose it, too. These things have always been bullet-proof. What could be going on?

— Bobbie F., Medford

Have you been target-shooting your shrubs, Bobbie?

Other than that, Master Gardener Carol Oneal says, it could be many things. Did you change any pesticides or fertilizers you've been using? Are you sure you don't have insects or gophers eating the roots?

A neighbor could have sprayed poisons that drifted in the wind (photinia seems particularly susceptible to Roundup, especially smaller plants). There could be a soil-borne fungus. You even can spread bacteria and/or disease from one plant to another via infected pruning sheers.

Oneal suggests taking a sample to the Oregon State University Extension Service plant clinic at 569 Hanley Road, Central Point. The service is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. She says it's best to take both a small affected branch and a healthy branchif possible. Good luck.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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