Wilted Black Lace Elderberry

Asked August 2, 2020, 10:01 PM EDT

Hello, My Black Lace Elderberry looked healthy then I was away from the house for two days and when I came home all it’s leaves were wilted.

  • I couldn’t find any signs of distress or insect damage on the leaves or branches.
  • I found a small branch at the base of the plant that was about 6” long and 1/4” in diameter that was hollowed out like a straw. I cut it open and found a dark bodied insect that looked like a boring type of insect inside the hollow branch (shown in 2nd picture) It got away when I cut it open so I didn’t get a great look.
  • I found softwood at the top of the base with the branches meet that you can pull away easily with your finger (3rd picture).

Do you know what might be wrong with my plant and if there is a way to treat it? Thank you in advance for your help!

Washtenaw County Michigan

1 Response

It sounds like you might have Elder Shoot Borer (Achatodes zeae). I'd have to see the insect itself to give you a definitive ID. The symptoms that you are describing are consistent with a boring insect attack. Of course, there are other things that could be causing these symptoms as well. I would recommend that you read this article from Penn State University Extension:https://extension.psu.edu/insect-pests-in-elderberries-in-home-fruit-plantings
And this article from MSU Extension: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/elderberries_an_edible_landscape_plant
To see if the symptoms that you are seeing match with those described for these boring insects.