Why is my elderberry growing shriveled leaves?

Asked August 17, 2020, 12:27 PM EDT

I planted two blue elderberries (and two red) in the spring and for many months they all grew very healthily. At a certain point (Perhaps around June?) all new leaves on one of the blues started growing in shriveled up. Many of these leaves eventually unfurled but retain a crinkled texture. The other blue elderberry only just now started doing the same thing, and the reds are both unaffected. Can you explain why this is happening and what I can do to fix it? Insufficient water was suggested as a cause, but I’m skeptical, because the older leaves were not affected. All four plants have received similar soil, light and water conditions as well. Thank you for any input you can offer.

Multnomah County Oregon

5 Responses

It looks a lot like herbicide damage. Could they have been sprayed by a neighbor?

Highly unlikely. They’re at least 10 feet from the property line and I’ve never seen that neighbor doing any work in their yard.

https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/id/id_184_w.pdf and https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/herbicide-damage-to-landscape-plants/

There was documented contamination of soil from two suppliers in the Portland area this summer https://www.koin.com/news/environment/contaminated-soil-traced-to-2-suppliers-in-portland-area/

It may be drought stress when we had a couple of days of 95+ temps. The article from Purdue discusses other possibilities.

I got my soil In March and it came from Mt. Scott Fuel (not one of the mentioned distributors), and I covered it with chips from an arborist in my neighborhood. Still it’s only the two plants, everything else is the yard has been fine.

Then inspect for aphids as they will feed on tender growth. In general, elderberry is not impacted by many diseases or pests. Please see this article and the associated links. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/elderberry.html