Help to ID some Disease on a Viburnum?

prairiemoon2 z6 MASeptember 23, 2013

Hi, I noticed earlier in the summer that the leaves on my Viburnum 'Wentworth' were looking discolored. Yesterday I noticed that there was a dead branch on the shrub, but I thought it was a branch from a Maple that had fallen on it, but it was one of the branches of the shrub. Then I thought maybe the branch had broken and was still hanging on, but I couldn't find a break on it at all. So now I am concerned that this may be some kind of disease. I was hoping someone here might be able to help me figure out what the problem is. Here are three photos of the shrub, showing the dead branch on the shrub, still attached and some of the discolored leaves....

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Here are the discolored leaves....

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:49PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Last one.....

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:50PM
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You do have the Viburnum Leaf Beetle in MA, and your cranberry-type viburnum is especially susceptible to it. I don't think your damage looks like beetle damage, but I sure could be wrong. Check the dying branch and surrounding branches closely for beetle larvae (the real culprits) and also look very closely again to see if there isn't some damage to the branch that could have led to a vascular problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell: Viburnum Leaf Beetle

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 11:05AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

MMama, thanks for that idea. I am going to take a look and see if I can see any larvae tomorrow. I don't have the easiest yard, with a lot of dry conditions and I've been disappointed with how Viburnums are doing for me. I love them and they are the main source I have for berries for the birds. This cranberry one, has just started getting a lot larger the last couple of years and is finally creating a screen that I need, so I hope I can salvage it! And thanks for that link too!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 6:50PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

is this deciduous??? [and if its not.. google failed my cursory review,, and i will stand corrected]

if so.. who cares.. the leaves will be gone in weeks.. so whats to treat ..

and who is to say it will recur ...

and the dead branch.. cut it out.. move on ....

you really arent thinking of spraying chemicals in what is basically october in MA .. are you???

knowledge is power.. but its not the time to act.. IMHO ....


    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 8:37AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Yes, Ken, it is deciduous. I figured in the end, that I would do exactly that and keep my fingers crossed that it would grow in normally next year. I just thought I should make an attempt to figure out what was wrong with it, in case it was something common that I was unaware of. Especially if it ended up being a disease that might spread to nearby shrubs.

No, I've been gardening organically for 30+ years and have never sprayed a chemical, so that was never part of my thoughts about it. I am going to check the shrub for the viburnum beetle that MMama mentioned, since I hadn't even thought of that.

That would be really great, if it just leafs out normally next year and that is the end of it!! Thanks for clarifying the situation. :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Prairiemoon, there is no doubt it will grow and thrive next year. Those opulus and dentatum viburnums are pretty indestructable.

We have 24 viburnums of different types here -- no cranberry ones yet though. We thought we lost a Leatherleaf a few years ago when it went uniformly pale and defoliated in summer. No extension agent or arborist could explain why. The following spring we chainsawed it to the ground and were going to remove the stump -- and it resprouted. Today -- it's beautiful again. We named it Lazarus.

I have read the Michael Dirr book, "Viburnums" a few times now, and I am always amused that the troubleshooting chapter is so hard to find -- because it's only about two pages long. The beetle is really about the only problem he talks about.

This post was edited by MulchMama on Wed, Sep 25, 13 at 10:20

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Great, I'm really happy to hear that! This was the first year that it was so tall and covered with berries and it is such a nice shrub. Better than I expected.

That is a LOT of Viburnums! There are so many varieties that have something to offer, I can completely understand buying a lot of them. You must have a larger property than my 1/4 acre. :-) I have only six all together and only 4 different varieties. I wish I had room for more. I have two Viburnum carlesii for the fragrance and that is my favorite, but every year it has an issue with the foliage that I've been told may be some insect issue, but I never see an insect. One of them recovers and usually looks okay the rest of the season, but the other one looks bad the rest of the year. I tried cutting that one down to the ground but it did the same thing after it grew back. I'm just glad the other one does okay because I would hate to lose them all together. I have been thinking of trying another one in case the problem was just the source of the last two I bought.

Glad your Leatherleaf came back fine for you, appropriate name!

I have a 'Red Wings' that I just loved. It was such a quick grower, it amazed me. Unfortunately, all that quick growth made for a lot of breakage. Just as it was reaching the size I liked, we got hit with an October ice storm two years ago and it broke most of the branches off. I did cut that one back to the ground and then this spring a lot of the new branches broke off without even the excuse of snowfall. I haven't decided if I can keep it or not. I cut off what was loose and I've left it to sort itself out. Wondering if after the branches age a little they might get stronger. This winter will be the test of whether it will stand up to all the snowfall we usually get.

Well...thanks for the reassurance and sorry I talked your ear With that large a collection of Viburnum, have you ever posted photos on the Shrub Forum? Would love to see them.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:58AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


i am always concerned.. that the lurkers.. might think its all hocus pocus.. when 99% of the time.. just cut the darn thing off.. and move on with life..

rather than poisoning mother earth..

esoteric conversations are great.. thats we we regulars hang here for ..... but what you need to do.. might not be all that complicated ...

take care .....


    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:25PM
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