Rhus aromatic without leaves
On a slope I've planted Rhus aromatica and one has lost almost all of its leaves. There is a New Jersey Tea also shriveled nearby too. Last year, in the same area, two Bayberry shrubs also shriveled and died. Any suggestions? Should I replace the soil?
Talbot County Maryland
You did not mention how old the plants are. It may be an establishment problem such as planting too deeply, poor drainage, excessive mulch, etc.
These plants are not usually subject to a lot of problems. They grow best in full sun in a well drained soil. They don't like heavy wet soils or to be constantly wet, and given the rain amounts we've gotten you may be dealing with a type of root issue. There is no treatment for the soil. Check the drainage in the area.
We'd suggest cutting out all dead and dying plant material during dry weather, and discarding them out of the garden area. We'd also suggest pulling mulch back from contact with the trunk/crown of the plants, and keeping the mulch at the recommended 2-3 inches. Monitor the growth of the plants and send us photos if you notice more symptoms