This red elderberry shrub started wilting yesterday. All 11others planted...

Asked August 18, 2014, 8:24 PM EDT

This red elderberry shrub started wilting yesterday. All 11others planted this spring are doing fine help.!

Hennepin County Minnesota diagnosis of plant problems elderberry

1 Response

Thank you for the question. I can't say what is causing your shrub to have trouble because many details must be considered and close examination needs to take place to even begin to figure it out. There are 3 main areas that can cause problems; insect or disease process damage, or abiotic (non living causes for damage). Since your other plants are fine and only this one is affected, perhaps abiotic causes are the problem. A portion of the national Extension website's publication on how to diagnose plant problems is pasted here for you:

Abiotic Problems of Trees and Shrubs

Hot air from a dryer vent on the wall of a house causing stress to a Rhododendron
This rhododendron, fairly new to the landscape, is struggling to survive due to warm-cold temperature extremes caused by the dryer vent behind it. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)

Sometimes insects and disease get all the blame for causing tree and shrub problems, but there are many nonliving, or abiotic, causes of plant problems: high temperatures (sunscald), low temperatures (frost damage), drought, flooding, lack of oxygen, lack of sunlight, hail damage, high winds causing plant damage or dessication, air pollutants, deicing salts, herbicide damage, improper planting depth, mechanical injury due to construction damage, lawn mower, vehicles, and animals.

Because the problems listed above are caused by mechanical, environmental/physical, or chemical factors, they are not spread from affected plants to healthy plants. As such, abiotic problems are often called noninfectious diseases. Despite the fact abiotic factors weaken, stress, or kill plants, they have no means of spreading to unaffected plants.

Many times damage symptoms to plants from abiotic factors may resemble that of insects or infectious diseases. Sometimes biotic factors must be ruled out to assume abiotic factors caused the problem. Other times, careful review of the timing of particular events or conditions present at a site will help conclude that abiotic factors are the cause of the problem.

Here is the link to the entire publication that includes many links for you to explore while trying to solve this complicated task: https://www.extension.org/pages/13083/trees-and-shrubs:-problems#.U_N6K6MXPN4