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Old 03-26-2012, 08:50 AM   #1
mpire
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Default Boxwoods turning yellow...

I have posted to a few other forums about this, but no one seems to have a solid answer. I have been to the big box stores, and to a couple nurserys. No one really has a good answer. One guy told me to come back with the roots to check for nodules, but I am not going to drive an hour back so bubba can tell me its not nematodes.

The boxwoods are from lowes, and this is the 3rd year. I have lost about half of them overall in the yard. They start to die off slowly one branch at a time until the whole plant is dead.

I think its leaf scale, spider mites, or nematodes.

1) Nematodes.

Nematodes eat the roots and cause them to rot. Then the bush dies off. The local library says that they would cause nodules on the roots. I don't think I have nodules.



2) Spider mites.

Spider mites suck out the fluids in the leaves and leave spots. The leaves aren't turning yellow in spots, but the whole sprig or branch dies.




3) Scale

Scale seems to be little bugs that form shells around them on the leaves. The leaves do have small white dots that can be scraped off with a pocket knife. I am leaning more towards scale, but then I have no idea how to kill it.



So I have yanked out the roots of one of the plants, and that tells me nothing. Then I have applied some bayer 3 in 1 on the plants.



This is supposed to kill mites and fungus.

Anthracnose
Leaf Spot
Powdery Mildew
Rust
Scab
Anthracnose
Black Spot
Leaf Spot
Petal Blight
Powdery Mildew
Rust
Leaf Spot
Powdery Mildew

I don't see where it will kill scale, so I think I am going to go back to the old standard and hit it with sevendust.



I also have some volck oil spray that I will hit them with, but I threw away the pump sprayer last year because the tip got corroded. So I will have to pick up another one of those and spray the shrubs.

Go ahead and chime in if you have any ideas. For some strange reason there are smarter/more helpful people on GJ than on some of the gardening forums.



Any help is appreciated.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Any agricultural extension service available to your area?
Soil test-is pH way high or something?
Waterlogging in the soil (poor drainage?)
Unfortunately the website jackeden.com seems to be no more- he died a few years ago-used to have a lot of topics on his website
pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-603/426-603.html should point to a boxwood information sheet from Virginia Cooperative Extension.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Those white spots look like they may come from whiteflies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitefly

I will try to get my wife to look at those pics when I get home

http://www.pestproducts.com/whiteflies.htm
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Boxwoods seem to be picky with the soil you put them in. We tried for a few years to have a row of them in front of our house, finally gave up as we couldn't keep them alive. Turn yellow and die, very similar to what yours look like.

I actually did a soil test to check the ph and mine was very acidic, I figured that is probably why they did not like it there. I checked after they had all been pulled and put on the burn pile. Haven't tried changing the PH and giving it another go, but one of the yellow ones I thought was dead on the burn pile started to green up again. It was doing better on the burn pile then it did being planted and pampered with water and food.

Might check that PH and see if its around neutral or not.

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Old 03-26-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Add a little chealated (sp?) iron amendment to the soil, I think your PH is off....t could be the pine bark you used as mulch causing the problem....

Are there pine trees in the area? they have to be countered with iron. If you have a pin oak or evergreens you need to drop a fine coat of iron down too, your grass will love it.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakefield View Post
Any agricultural extension service available to your area?
I live in Orlando, and its not worth taking a day off of work for these plants. Even if I did go there, they wouldn't have time for me and I would have to wait in line. Tried that before, so not really an option.

I can scrape the white spots off the leaf, so that's why I am leaning towards scale. I probably thought it was paint overspray last year since I painted the house, but the new leaves have overspray on them as well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakefield View Post
Soil test-is pH way high or something?
I am going to look into PH testing the soil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakefield View Post
Waterlogging in the soil (poor drainage?)
That's definitely a possibility. I have a piece of 5/8 deck board as the edging, but its only about 4 inches tall, so it shouldn't inhibit drainage too much. I also drilled holes in it for drainage as well just in case. The plants are next to the house, and I don't have rain gutters. However, the plant closest to the patio gets water directly poured on it from the roof and it seems to be doing the best of all of them. It rained yesterday, so I can't really check that yet. I don't directly water the bed with the sprinklers, they are facing away from the beds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra6 View Post
Those white spots look like they may come from whiteflies
Lets hope that I can kill them if they are white flies. I am going to go spray the hedges all around the yard just in case since I already invested in the poison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mmfh View Post
Might check that PH and see if its around neutral or not.
I ordered this soil tester off amazon for 8 bucks. Lets see what we come up with on the PH.



I am betting on a pest issue, but would be more than happy to get these plants to grow faster. I think that being on the north side of the house is probably slowing down the growth since there isn't any direct sunlight, but it is what it is.

Last edited by mpire; 03-26-2012 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Thanks for the input!
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagmandave View Post
Add a little chealated (sp?) iron amendment to the soil, I think your PH is off....t could be the pine bark you used as mulch causing the problem....

Are there pine trees in the area? they have to be countered with iron. If you have a pin oak or evergreens you need to drop a fine coat of iron down too, your grass will love it.
No pine trees, just bark from the big box store.



I have a tree with those spiney balls on it, an oak tree, and a maple tree in the yard. In the back yard there are 7 queen palms and a crepe myrtle.

The hedges are probably shaded by the queen palms.

The wife just planted various flowers as she does every summer to give the back yard some color.

Last edited by mpire; 03-26-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Same exact thing at my house. I live in central NC.

Check the stems for a white powdery residue. If you see some, it's a fungus that grows on the plant and wipes out whole branches very quickly. You will find that the dead branches are completely dessicated--no moisture at all and they just crumble in your hands. The leaves on the affected branches get spotty and then turn brown. Eventually, the entire plant dies.

If this is what you've got, it's EXTREMELY contagious.

I caught mine way too late. The local extension agent says it's treatable with a solution of zinc sulfate (dark blue stuff, even big box stores have it). You have to spray the whole plant down, especially the branches. I tried it on my plants but they were too far gone. Some rebounded but they're malformed due to the already dead branches. I'm having to re-landscape much of my lawn.

Mine occurred right after I re-mulched two years ago. I think the landscaper brought it in. I had thought that boxwoods were immune to everything but this fungus just wiped them all out in just over a year. I hope that's not what you've got but it sounds alot like it.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by James E View Post
You will find that the dead branches are completely dessicated--no moisture at all and they just crumble in your hands. The leaves on the affected branches get spotty and then turn brown. Eventually, the entire plant dies.
That sounds exactly like what I have. However, I had it last year too, and I wasn't sure what it was. Half of them survived the Florida winter, and now the spring growth is just starting I am trying to do something about it.

I don't have any good examples to show because I have snipped them all off and taken them to every place and friend to get input. Didn't occur to me to use GJ.

Random branches of the Boxwoods would dry out, die, and turn to the color of cardboard.

I have seen a white fungus in the mulch while digging around, so that could definitely be part of the problem. It could be bugs and fungus for all I know.

I hit them with the bayer 3-in-1 last night, and today I hit them with Sevin.

The bayer is supposed to kill Anthracnose, black spot, leaf spot, petal blight, powdery mildew, rust, and scab.

I am hesitant to go too crazy with the bayer because I have passion fruit and a few vegetable plants on the other side of the yard. The sevin is safe for food, so I will probably do a few applications with that.

I am going to spray down the sago with Volk oil spray like I do every spring to keep the fungus off it, and I will hit the boxwoods while I am at it.

No zinc sulfate on lowes or home depot's website, however I did find some on amazon that is apparently for cleaning sheep hooves?



No wait, I think this is what I would need...



When you don't have special forces, carpet bombing will have to do.

Last edited by mpire; 03-26-2012 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:07 AM   #11
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Mpire, I'm very sorry. I said zinc but I meant copper. Here is what the extension agent recommended:

http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-Ga...&storeId=10051

You water it down and spray the heck out of everything.

The disease my plants got was some form of boxwood blight. There are several types. and most information online states that fungicides are just not very effective on any of these diseases. They are all very infectious and can be spread via mulch, watering, leaf and stem debris blowing into other plants, even you can spread it by touching one infected plant and then going to check on a healthy one.

Like I said, most if not all of my boxwoods have got it now and all are dying fast. I started out with about a hundred in my yard, now at least 75% are infected and the copper spray is not seeming to do much good.

After extensive reading, I think your best bet is to remove the plants that show any signs of infection and plant something else in their place. If you put another boxwood in that spot, it will die, too. Good luck.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Just off the cuff, but you wouldn't happen to be getting TOO much water in that area would you? Boxwoods are a tough animal and really hard to kill. I can't imagine that you keep having problems without it being something major. Are any other plants around the area having any problems? If not and it is only in the area where the Boxwoods are, I'd get them out of there and remove all of the dirt under them and replace with different dirt.

Your area is drastically different than our area, but we had a guy selling topsoil a few years ago. Every person he sold it to...the plants died in that dirt. My dad called the dirt Jack-Wax. It was a cross between topsoil and peatmoss. When it dried out it was like stone. Hard as hell. Nothing would grow in it. So if you're in Florida, you may have something close to the same thing maybe. I think I'd get the soil tested to see what the PH is. It is either lacking something, or it is too rich for what you are planting.

Here are a couple of things I found:

http://www.ehow.com/info_8573589_lea...w-boxwood.html

http://www.al.com/living/birminghamn...690.xml&coll=2

http://www.bhg.com/advice/gardening/...urning-yellow/

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...2084508AA75JRE
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

That sounds and looks exactly like the scale that my parents are dealing with at their place. Last year was supposedly extremely bad for scale (at least in northern VA), with this year looking just as bad or worse.

It is amazing how much damage the scale can do in a short amount of time. More importantly, the scale is highly contagious, and can spread rapidly. The best way to kill it is to use some dormant oil, along with a systemic treatment. The stuff isn't cheap, but it is the only way to salvage the plants.

Good luck... scale can be a major headache.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

I have read everything on the internet in regards to boxwoods.

I am going to cross my fingers and stick with either scale or bugs of some kind due to the spots.



The hole is where the completely dead plant was removed.

The bush on the far right gets the most water by far as its directly under the roof runoff and its doing the best of all of them.

As you move left, the damage gets worse.

I have boxwoods in two other places.

By the fence on the opposite side of the yard...



And around the side of the house by the garage AC unit.



The ones by the fence are doing just fine with no signs of damage, but the ones by the AC has a little damage, but nothing too dramatic and they are really growing now too.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:12 PM   #15
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMEdoc View Post
It is amazing how much damage the scale can do in a short amount of time. More importantly, the scale is highly contagious, and can spread rapidly. The best way to kill it is to use some dormant oil, along with a systemic treatment.
I am going to mix up some Volck oil spray a give them a quick spritz.


Last edited by mpire; 03-27-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Boxwoods turning yellow...

A new blight has come over from England called Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum or Boxwood blight for short; The financial loss will be tremendous.

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