Why did my precious daphne die? It was right by my front door for about 25 years and brought so much aromatic pleasure each spring! About a year or two ago, branches started dying one at a time. I let each one remain until it seemed it would not survive, then trimmed it off. The rest of the bush seemed just fine. When I reluctantly trimmed off a branch, eventually another branch would slowly bite the dust. A few days ago my son pulled the last deadish branch off...and the rest of the bush broke right off. Today I pulled on the remaining brown wooden portion and it just came right out of the ground. Please advise. Dare I replace it with another?? Thank you.
Washington County Oregon
It's hard to lose a beloved plant. Your daphne may just have come to the end of its life cycle in 25 plus years. It may also have had root rot, (Daphne Root Rot https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/host-disease/daphne-root-rot). If it did have root rot you don't want to plant another daphne in that spot as the fungus is in the soil. You might try a daphne in a pot without access to the soil in that spot.
To determine if it was root rot look at the roots of the plant as you remove it. If the roots are dark and crumbly, fungal root rot is a real possibility. Also look at the base of the main trunk. It may have a discolored area just above the soil. If you scrape away the bark the interior would be dark and unhealthy looking. Above the discolored area the interior should be light colored and healthy. Since the whole plant died, however, there may be changes to the entire plant.
Thank you for your response...I had just been about to ask you about my daphne...when it was no longer there!! My son had removed it...not malicious, it was just rotten. Each time I reluctantly cut away a dead branch, I thought that perhaps that would take away the dead and give the plant fresh energy.
What a wonderful service! patty
Thank you, I'm glad we could help.