Asked on Jun 02, 2012

HELP?!? Our bush died!! This bush in our front yard has been fine for 11 years found it dead yesterday.

Ana M
by Ana M
We have had this bush in our front yard for 11 years. Yesterday we noticed it appears to have died. Last week it was perfectly fine and green and lush! HELP!? Can anyone tell us what could be the problem, and is it completely dead or can we rehab it? You can see in the background the other bushes just like it that are fine and still lush and green. It was fine last week!!!
We had two other bushes through the years do the same and never investigated to see what went wrong. We ended up pulling them out but we do not want to keep losing bushes. Also does anyone know what type of bush it is?? They were here when we moved into our home and we have never known what kind they are.
What could have happened to our bush??
closeup and what kind is it???
only bit of green left on it
bush should look like this
  64 answers
  • Janie B Janie B on Jun 02, 2012
    Ahhhh...sorry, think you are looks dead. :(
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on Jun 02, 2012
    YOW!! Something that sudden makes me think it is chemical burn (deck cleaner? spilled Tiki torch? accidental Roundup spray?) Or possibly it has been gnawed on by a vole at the base. I don't think it can be renovated. If you pull it up, post pix of what the main trunk and root system look like.
  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 02, 2012
    What a significant loss! If it were me, I'd give it more time to see if any new leaves begin to form. If it was chemical, maybe only what's showing now is lost. Then again.......... I'm just not one to give up on a plant very soon.
  • Ana M Ana M on Jun 02, 2012
    Can you tell us what kind of plant it is? We have never known.
  • Aric V Aric V on Jun 02, 2012
    seems as if it looks as though the leaves on the top are dead but the shrub itself seems ok underneath. I would try using a growth hormone (i use Superthrive) after clipping it back. That should both increase the growth rate and provide natural nutrients to recover it.
  • Melissa K Melissa K on Jun 02, 2012
    I, also thought I had lost a boxwood in this manner last fall, but more leaves sprang from the center trunk. I was also mystified. But the writer states she has completely lost another in the same fashion. I never figured out what happened, but I do know there were voles in my yard this past fall.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 02, 2012
    I agree with Becky. Cut off the dead and see if it revives. My queen palm looked dead but it looks like it might make it. Here the problem was nothing but water. Sprinklers missed it and we have a drought. I'm still not sure it will make it but it has green growth.
  • Sandra R Sandra R on Jun 02, 2012
    I agree with Walter, that sudden has to be a chemical.
  • Jan C Jan C on Jun 02, 2012
    I agree with Walter, but could possibly be a male dog urinating on it. It is the first off the bottom of the steps and that is the one they will go for first, but that normally takes more than a week, but I've seen it kill in a few weeks with repeated urinating.
  • Val L Val L on Jun 02, 2012
    Where is your underground gas pipe?
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 03, 2012
    You have a boxwood. I've never heard of one succumbing so quickly to natural causes.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 03, 2012
    If you find you have to replace this plant (I agree it looks like a boxwood), you definitely want to "sanitize" the soil before you replant...and this includes the rocks around it. If you have a coop in your area, they can test the soil. Something is wrong or something is getting to this area.
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 03, 2012
    It's a Boxwood but I have some questions...when did you put the gravel down?...have you been watering it? this the first spot a dog goes to urinate?...have you used chemicals in the area? you have moles?... now to the possibles for your problem. 1..could be cut leaf worm which attacks at the base. Is the boxwood now wobbly? 2..chemical burn 3..too much gravel right up the the trunk which also means the the bark could have been damaged while adding the gravel and also it can't breath. 4..bad neighbor? the list goes on but I would suggest severely cutting off all of the dead if you really want to save it...overwater and fertilize and see what you get but I honestly think it's a goner.
  • Janie B Janie B on Jun 04, 2012
    Plants don't live forever either. Sometimes they just get old and die. Trimming them makes them look nice but seems after years of trimming it seems you have to replace them. I have seen this with my Mom's hedges and different shrubs she like trimmed.
  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 04, 2012
    All things have a life expectancy, however shrubs/hedge life can be extended providing some pruning is done each year. Repeated hedge shaping can cause a woody interior w/superficial foliage. Every year a sharp pair of hand pruners should be put to use, trimming out some of the wood inside/lightening the canopy. Never remove more than 1/3 of the shrub at one time. By doing this, the new light coming through the shrub canopy will allow new growth to begin from the interior of the shrub. It is the green wood that correlates to feeder roots. Always trimming off the new growth to maintain the shape of your shrub will reduce the growth of feeder roots, which roots keep the plant alive and healthy.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 04, 2012
    Janie M, I don't think the plant died of old age. My boxwood is over 20 years old - 30+ ft long x 4+ ft wide & 5+ft high. The one thing I learned is never scalp the boxwood hedge. Just remove unsightly growth. In Florida this must be done a few times a year. The only problem I had with the plants was when one sprinkler didn't work.
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 04, 2012
    this one didn't die of old age. look at the others that are still healthy.
  • Bonnie B Bonnie B on Jun 04, 2012
    I'm sure you've checked your watering system, haven't you? That would be my first guess; my second would be moles?
  • Anna P Anna P on Jun 04, 2012
    voles can eat the roots and the plant will died very quickly. Voles did BIG damage in my garden, but moles do not eat roots, only voles...
  • Ana M Ana M on Jun 04, 2012
    Thanks for the help! So here are answers to some of the question: -gravel went down more than 5 years ago -watering has been the same as we have been doing it for 11 years -the bush is 16-18 years old -no chemicals nor accidental spills have been near it -no dogs urinate in the area -we have not seen a problem with voles -has been trimmed the same way for the last 11 years no changes on that -gas pipe is no where near it It is a complete mystery to us!
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 05, 2012
    maybe it is a Vole then? Is the bush wobbly at all? If so then that could have been the culprit.
  • Ana M Ana M on Jun 05, 2012
    nope not wobbly and no voles, that we can find :(
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 05, 2012
    hmmm curious!!! You might want to get a professional out there so you can avoid this happening again!
  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 06, 2012
    Janie M. you are correct, however, unless she can determine what may have caused this, it may repeat itself. Typically it is better to determine the cause so one can move on.
  • Ana M Ana M on Jun 06, 2012
    Not crying over a plant, but we are baffled, third one in 11 years that has done this and we can not figure out why! So we are very hesitant to plant a new one to have it keep happening, plus we have several more bushes in the area that we are trying to keep well.
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 06, 2012
    you surely need a diagnosis or you will suffer years of dissapointment and waste alot of money.
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 06, 2012
    @Janie...I am truly sorry for your loss but you probably shouldn't be here if you're that bitter. We're talking about things in our lives that we are passionate should probably find a forum on your issue if you need to vent. Sorry but it's my honest opinion.
    • Joann Jarvis Joann Jarvis on Mar 25, 2015
      Good grief, we're on thei web site to ask questions and hopefully get answers to a serious question. Fight nice! Or, just don't bother to zing someone. Haven't you ever been there.? PEACE.
  • Ana M Ana M on Jun 07, 2012
    I appreciate everyone's opinions but like Marg C said Hometalk is a forum for us all to ask for help on matters of the home that are of interest to us. It might be meaningless to you because of your situation but nevertheless it is still a forum for just that home sharing questions.
  • Jeanne Nelson Jeanne Nelson on Jun 15, 2014
    Yes, you do have a boxwood. Is it possible that shrubs have gotten taller over time and are blocking a sprinkler head so that this one is not receiving adequate water? I just noticed the bush on the left side (laurel,euonymous?) has some dying leaves as well. I would definitely check to see if something has changed in your water system in that area.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Aug 14, 2014
    looks like a boxwood,,,, I have lost 2 over the years.. that were here when I moved in....Sometimes things are pruned to severe for various reasons... it can cause stress to the plant and dies.... getting to big, keep a certain look of a bed, planted to close to another plant or foundation, etc. also don't shear in hot weather,, you are taking away the growth that it needs to store water..... just a thought..
  • Kimberly A Kimberly A on Aug 29, 2014
    With it happening this fast you may want to think about a chemical culprit. I too noticed the larger bush beside it having what looks like dead leaves near it. If you or anyone has sprayed a weed killer or other similar agent in the area and the wind caught it to get to the leaves or even get into the ground water at that plant it would result in a fast kill. I have some of those same bushes in my yard which were here when I moved in as well. I did lose one to exactly what I'm referring to. I hope you can quickly find your problem.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 30, 2014
    @Kimberly A I was going to mention weed killer as my neighbor's yard people over sprayed in one area and I lost a beautiful cypress tree. I didn't see the backside of the tree until I noticed problems on my side. He also sprayed and killed only one boxwood that was part of a huge hedge along my entire driveway.
  • Roxanne Roxanne on Aug 30, 2014
    I lost a lilac and started to see damage on my Walking stick. It was ants. Had to do serious damage control. I do not like chemicals but I had no choice. Saved my Walking Stick. But watching for damage elsewhere.
  • Stacy Stacy on Oct 02, 2014
    Ppl who spray their yards with chemicals can affect your plants, too much water, not enough, soil changes etc. I'd cut it back all the way to bottom and hope it will come back. If you are loosing some yearly you could have a disease fungus spreading. Might throw a little fertile r (most organic) around whole beds to give them a boost. Think they sell kits to test your soil for what it's lacking etc.
  • Deborah frankel Deborah frankel on Jan 05, 2015
    White fly, you need to spray an incecticide
  • Artist In The Garden Artist In The Garden on Feb 14, 2015
    If one cannot handle the death of plants it is most logical to install ONLY plants that do not have pest or disease problems and in soil that is prepared perfectly with good drainage. It is very wise to know the cultural requirements of every plant. Drought tolerant plants are a plus. Then any death or sickness would most likely be only from dumb things or herbicides/ other chemicals. Some people have killed their plants by throwing hot grease out the kitchen window. There are thousands of ways to murder a plant.
  • Joann Jarvis Joann Jarvis on Mar 25, 2015
    To those who didn't learn something from the posts it's sad you may need good advise and food for thought in the future. I just stored some useful info.
  • Janice Victoria Hart Janice Victoria Hart on Apr 08, 2015
    Have you tried to pull it up? This is the sort of damage that vine weevils can do they eat all the root and you can tell it's them by trying to lift the plant, it will have no hold. You would need to spray the soil with vine weevil killer to stop it happening.
  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Apr 21, 2015
    ?? I don't know if you have answer yet, looks like a dwarf yaupon, which are anything but dwarf. I would suggest pring all dead stuff off, they are usually quite hardy, something may have damaged the root system, just my guess. I cut mine just about to ground ever few years as they can get out of hand. On the other hand it may be a Japanese boxwood, I seen spiders and wasp cause this condition, a good pruning would help recover, there are some pant safe insecticides out there, right of top of my head I can't recall what do want to lead you wrong. Both my parents and Brother had boxwoods that did this, one had spiders the other wasp...both bushes did recover after harsh pruning and treatment. Good luck.
  • Barbara Sawyer Barbara Sawyer on Apr 24, 2015
    Check with your county extension agent in your area they may be able to give you good local advice. It seems to me if the entire plant failed, sounds more like drainage problems, or not enough water. The rock mulch dries and is hot in the summer. What do you use for week control around the shrubs? It may be affecting the roots of the shrubs.
  • Donna Sheppard Donna Sheppard on Jun 04, 2015
    The bushes look like Boxwoods which we have had in Michigan and planted by a landscaper. All 6 bushes died one by one every year, most likely from Winter freezing. Very disappointing! Also had gorgeous Azaleas which we found out later apparently attract ants - so there went the RR ties!!! Personally, I would pull the bush in hopes that if it is diseased, it won't spread to the other ones.
  • Betty Miller Betty Miller on Jul 18, 2015
    Believe Ga. has a great Extension service. I would clip some take to extension office and get there opinion. They will know locally if you have new bug in area or weather problem. Since you have had one die earlier and you have several better find out cause. Extension office is there for your use and would be no charge or small charge.
  • Karen hayes Karen hayes on Jul 28, 2015
    I would definitely check with your local cooperative extension service, you should be able to do a Google search to find one near you.
  • Jane Brumble Thompson Jane Brumble Thompson on Aug 04, 2015
    Looks like Ilex Schillings Dwarf. If Lobate Lac Scale has reached Georgia, that is a possibility, otherwise I would say a root fungus/blight. If it is insect related, Imidicloprid will help. HOWEVER, Imidicloprid should only be used for non flowering plants, since it is detrimental to bees. If it is root/fungus related, you will have to say good bye to it. I have a blight running through my garden and am going to try Cleary as a fungal root drench, but I hold low hopes...
  • Mimi Haywood Mimi Haywood on Aug 07, 2015
    Could it be neighborhood dogs using it as a pit stop, or possibly grubs eating the root system.?
  • Kristen Kristen on Aug 13, 2015
    Boxwood. If this happened quickly it looks as if it could have been poisoned by salt, antifreeze, or something else that was sprayed or possibly high heat induced by motorcycle or similar exhaust. Diseases usually take a bit more time.
  • Patricia Clark Patricia Clark on Aug 13, 2015
    Could be it gets more hot sun exposure than the other bushes. Also, the rocks that you have around it would also make it very hot. Maybe the other bushes are kept a little cooler by the bushes around them. This one is kind of on the outer edge.
  • Diane Basile Diane Basile on Aug 13, 2015
    When we first bought our house I put in a beautiful garden in a swath across the front yard. The first year everything thrived. The year after the whole center of the garden just died off . I dug it up and look for bugs & everything I could think of but couldn't find anything wrong. Nothing would grow there, even now 38 years later nothing will grow there. And we've had our whole front yard dug up and put a new house on the property. Still in that one spot, nothing will grow just sparse grass but mostly weeds.
  • Peg Peg on Aug 14, 2015 My neighbor & I had total of 12 of these EUROMYMOUS shrubs and they all got diseased. After having them for a good 8 years they were very healthy till they got diseased & had to dig them all out, they looked horrible...........
  • Sherrie Slaboda Sherrie Slaboda on Aug 15, 2015
    I think you have a Dwarf Yaupon Holly. I have a 50' hedge that has been here over 25 years and only recently started getting dead patches. Local garden store suggested malathion for insects and copper for fungus. Only time will tell if this works.
  • Lyn Therese Lyn Therese on Nov 25, 2015
    Something might have been dumped there before the house was built. And it wasn't water soluble. Otherwise, the rain and snow and any other kind of moisture would have flushed through the ground and washed it down. And the ground was left with a residue that you won't be able to get rid of. Try digging the area out and refill with clean dirt...or just remove bush and put something there like a birdbath or fountain. The bush is boxwood by the way. They are pretty hardy......I'm just thinking poisoning of some sort. Have you had a lot of rain lately? Maybe male dogs in the yard?
    • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on Sep 29, 2016
      Hi. I don't think that toxic soil, after 11 years would be, the culprit. If there was/had been toxicity in the soil, there probably would have been evidence of these before. Box are so hardy.Probably some sort of mite infestation? Don't know. But I doubt toxic soil, otherwise the other plants would have perished too.
  • Numilén Numilén on Mar 07, 2016
    Tiene pulgones! Es un bichito verde que asfixia a la planta. Hay que curarla. No se recupera lo seco pero si se puede salvar la planta...
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on May 06, 2016
    Your plants are a BOX WOOD.. often used as a hedge and topiary.... Usually easy to grow.... You can not over prune.. only remove 1/4 to 1/3 MAX. per year.. Pruning when its HOT is also bad,, it stresses them, exposing too much cut surface.. Also are the rocks new.... they may NOT like the rocks. You might try pushing it back a to the edge of the shrub on the others.... I had one that did the same thing. Never did figure it out.... I think I over sheared mine, followed by a week or unusually hot weather.. Their root systems are a nighmare to dig out..
  • Swinnen Lisette Swinnen Lisette on Jul 01, 2016
    There are insects on it. Very tiny. You have to treat all the boxtrees still alive.You can't recover this one, never like he was. It can go very fast. You will have to spray them with insecticide Read this article please so you can identify which of those little pests are killing your plants.
  • Numilén Numilén on Nov 05, 2016
    Aphids have! It is a green bug that chokes the plant. That is no cure. the dry Recovers But not save the plant can ...
  • Kathleen Werner Kathleen Werner on Nov 05, 2016
    Backwoods..trim all damaged areas and make sure you rake away all diseased matter from under the bush. You can spray with is contagious so check all other boxwood. Sad to say, the one in the picture looks too far gone!
  • Kathleen Werner Kathleen Werner on Nov 05, 2016
    Sorry, kindle changeover Boxwoods
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Nov 06, 2016
    My 12 year old Boxwood had the same browning starting in one area of the plant and quickly turning the whole bush brown. Since I have a whole row of them I noticed that the browning started on my other boxwoods. Nothing I did stopped the problem so I finally called my pest control company and they stopped the problem but I lost 2 out of 12 boxwoods. They said it was a fungus.
  • Christine St Jean Christine St Jean on Nov 28, 2016

    Fire ants can destroy bushes and trees. I had a bottle brush that was beautiful .In a week's time it died. Look for signs of ants.

  • Frances Percel Frances Percel on Feb 27, 2020

    I know this posting is old. But I was also looking until someone mentioned her to see if it’s wobbly. Maybe lightning. I just saw mine and it died the only one and I pushed it to see if it would crack and saw a slight char mark on the base, I would of missed it if I hadn’t looked at it really close, it looked like part of the bark. I’ve had mine 20 years and it’s the only one I seen do that. It must of got hit a while ago.

  • Rr Rr on Aug 25, 2020

    I know this is an old post but...we had a 100 foot eucalyptus tree in the front yard. I noticed it was looking weird. Can't explain it. Within the next two weeks, it was dead. Leaves, limbs and trunk turned a chocolate leathery brown color. I called an abortionist who was not sure what killed the tree. It turned out the gas and electric company buried lines across our yard when the condos were being built. It was a gas leak that caused this. Nope, they did not take responsibility. They said it was on our front yard. Since we did not want it to fall and damage property of the attorney neighbor across the street  we had it removed. 1,000. A man back east takes on cases from gas leaking killing vegetation. So it is not rare for this to have happened.

  • Phyllis J Holman Phyllis J Holman on Dec 01, 2020

    They look like boxwoods

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 19, 2023

    They are BOX. They canget Box Blight! You could either tak cuttings to make new lsnts, or cut all the dead off and see what happens, SOMETIMES THEY REGROW but will take years to recover.