Dying elderberry plants

mooserider(8)July 18, 2012

Last fall I got two elderberry plants from the Seattle native plant sale... one red, one blue. They over-wintered in their one-gallon pots just fine. Come fall they grew new leaves and I transplanted them into my yard around late Feb. They both did well until around May, when the red elderberry died in a very, very short time. All of the leaves drooped down and sagged in less than 1 day. It looks like the one in the picture I attached. I water it more than enough! I soaked it for the first two or three days... didn't help. Then I moved it to a shadier spot... that didn't help. It was completely dead within 5 or 6 days.

In the mean time, my blue elderberry was doing great. I shot out two big sets of flowers that are just last week starting to turn into berries. Then two days ago the same exact thing happened. It wilted and drooped down in just a few hours. Literally, was great in the morning, then about 10 hours later it was completely limp and droopy.

I dug it up last night after work. Sprayed it down completely to the bare roots. Mixed up the compost and soil thoroughly where it was planted. Added a little rooting hormone to the hole and to the roots, and then replanted it.

I hope that helps, but I'm at a loss. I found no bugs on the roots. There's no damage to the foliage. The roots look fairly clean and healthy. I just don't get it. I water it plenty. I've had no issues with all the other native plants I have. I have another 40 or so native berries planted... from huckleberry to thimbleberry. All planted in compost I made and a layer of leaf/wood chip mulch on top. The soil is acidic, which they should love. It's planted in a spot where it gets sun from morning until around 4ish.

All I can think of is that there's some microbe or bacteria I can't see. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

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mooserider, Verticillium wilt? LINK

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Wow that sounds spot on. Thanks Ronalawn82! No cure suggested either there. I'll do more research on it. Not sure if I should trim some of the roots back or cut the plant down and let it try and re-sprout. Either way, sounds like the fungus is in the soil and it'll just get re-attacked. =(

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Maybe a too wet soil Elderberries grow on the edges of swamps, bogs, etc. where the soil will be evenly moist but not as wet as in the swamp.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:58AM
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