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Rosemary branches dying

Last post 24-07-2009 5:17 PM by rwgray. 10 replies.

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  • 30/03/2008 01:54 PM
    • Bog Myrtle
    • Southern Turkey
    • 07 Feb 2007
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    We have a dozen or more largish rosemary bushes in the garden, all grown from cuttings, and around seven or eight years old. They have been gorgeous for all of these years, flowering profusely and attracting lots of butterflies & bees. But this year, on one or two of the bushes, individual entire branches have gone brown and died, though the rest of the bush appears fine. At first, I tried cutting off the brown branches, but all that happened then was that other branches started to go brown and die. Anyone got any suggestons please, either as to cause or cure?

  • 01/04/2008 04:47 PM
    • emmakt
    • 13 Oct 2007
    • 2
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    Could it be rosemary beetle? Maybe you haven't noticed these beetles, even though they are actually gorgeously showy iridescent green. (I say that because that's what happened to me...) For some reason, they attacked one side of my bush and not the other, which is what makes me think that might be what's happened to yours.? http://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/profiles0206/rosemarybeetle.asp is the official advice. I have to say that I use my rosemary for eating, so I decided not to spray. I studiously shook the bush every time i went past, which resulted to start with in sprays of beetles, all of which i squished with my foot. But at least maybe something else could eat them. It has controlled the problem, and the bush has started to grow back. But it does look a bit sad. And now that spring is coming, the larvae - which are smaller, grey and gunmetal striped things that look like tiny slugs, do seem to be everywhere. I am now thinking about whether to start spraying it.

  • 01/04/2008 06:55 PM
    • Plantman
    • North Yorkshire
    • 30 Jan 2008
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    I believe that Rosemay plants have a limited lifespan. It is so easy to take a few cuttings every year and replace the old specimens with a new one.

     I have lost several over the years. It's always sad to lose any plant, byt replacing it for free keeps me happy.

     Plantman

  • 01/04/2008 08:18 PM
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    They do have a natural propensity to die off after a few years, but sometimes these sudden diebacks seem disease like.

    The best potential culprit I have come up with is a fungal die-back similar to lavendar shab.  Unfortunately by the time you see the damage it is too late to spray and in any case no fungicides are recommended to treat it.  The only ones with chance of success are not gardeners anyway.  Your only chance is to cut out damage at the first sign of trouble.

     I assume your rosemary has not been used as a toilet by a passing (sorry) dog? 

     Boggy

     

     

    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 01/04/2008 10:00 PM
    • Plantman
    • North Yorkshire
    • 30 Jan 2008
    • 276
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    Unfortunately, once the dieback starts, there is very little you can do. You could try a hard prune but make sure that the cuts are well into healthy wood. It probably won't help in the long run.

    Replace the plant and protect from bogweevils passing dog.

    Plantman

  • 02/04/2008 07:14 PM
    • Bog Myrtle
    • Southern Turkey
    • 07 Feb 2007
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    Many thanks for all the helpful suggestions folks - I haven't noticed any beetles, emmakt, but I'll check first thing tomorrow, and root round in the soil for pupae as well. Havg looked the RHS link you kindly suggested, the fact that the little blighters feed from autumn to spring would explain why the dead branches are showing up now.

     Boggy & Plantsman, you could also well be right, I have had to give up on the odd rosemary or lavender over the years, but none has ever expired in quite this way before, nor several at once with the same symptoms as this.  If I can't find any beetles /larvae/pupae, then I shall try a bit more severe hacking, but hastily take some more cuttings first.

     It's not the dogs, Boggy, even my lot can't wee enough to do this much damage!

    Plantsman, I know what you mean, it's sad to lose a plant, and the rosemary bushes do provide such a good show for such a long time. Still, they were all grown from cuttings in the first place, so it can be done again.

    Thanks again. 

  • 02/04/2008 07:24 PM
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    The most likely reason is the abundance of water pouring down from our skies. Rosemary is a mediterranean plant and likes dry conditions, so must be planted in well drained soil. I cheat by growing it in a large pot as the soil here is heavy clay.

    Jackie
  • 02/04/2008 07:55 PM
    • Digger
    • Northern UK
    • 18 Jul 2005
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    I think maybe a cat has done the damage, somewhere on this forum some cats have damaged wisteria before now

    digger Devil Sage of the fells
  • 02/04/2008 08:24 PM
    • sue1002
    • Ipswich, Suffolk
    • 06 Sep 2005
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    I think the Rosemary beetle only attacks the leaves, they will have stripped them but I'm not sure if it would cause the whole stems to die off.

     

    Jackie - Bog Myrtle would love some of our rain, she prays for it to be sent over to the mediterranean. 

    sue1002
  • 02/04/2008 10:22 PM
    • Bog Myrtle
    • Southern Turkey
    • 07 Feb 2007
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     Yes Jackie, as Sue says, I envy you all your lovely British rain! Anybody that wants to send across a raincloud or two, feel free! Storm

    Having said that, I had rosemary in the garden when I lived in Scotland (which is rather less than a Mediterranean climate) and it was fine. Don't think it's the moggies Digger, and Sue you could be right, but maybe if all the leaves were munched, the stems would die off?

    I'll be out to do a beetle check tomorrow, and if I don't find any, then do some drastic hacking, because the damage has been getting much worse over the past week on my biggest bush, which is just across from the front door, so it's pretty noticeable. 

  • 24/07/2009 05:17 PM
    • rwgray
    • Brighton
    • 24 Jul 2009
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    Only days ago, I was trimming a few brown twigs from a large, healthy rosemary in front of my new house. I've yearned for a bush like this! Now whole branches are browning and dying back, and white mouldy lumps appearing on them. Is this just the constant rain, I wonder? Difficult to deal with this, as the bush is free-standing under a membrane in the front garden, with no realistic way of sheltering it. I was even watering the damned thing on the assumption that not enough rain was getting through! (Oops.) Any ideas? No sign of beetles but I could again tonight...