Forsythia branches dying

Asked August 8, 2016, 11:42 AM EDT

We planted forsythia on a north-facing bank last fall. It bloomed some in the spring. Soil is heavy clay, but ground slopes down. Weather has been hot and very humid but less than average rain so we have watered. Die-back started on just one plant but has now spread. No galls or apparent stem damage. Plants are heavily mulched. Could that be a problem? Thank you.

Knox County Tennessee

1 Response

As long as you have been watering (about 1.5" every 7-10 days or so), it shouldn't be that it's too dry. Newly transplanted bushes go through transplant shock which can be an 18 month period of time. It's your responsibility during that time to water -- deeply and infrequently.

The only way to know is to dig down and see if soil is moist around the roots.

The other side of that coin is too much water which will manifest itself as wilting. Again, the only way to know is to dig down and see.

However, I have seen forsythia go down due to phytophthora root rot. The plants wilt due to non-functioning roots. If one of your plants is going down, dig it up before it's completely dead and take it (plant with roots and all) to your local Extension office for a diagnosis. Do not take them a dead plant.

Hope this helps.