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Red tip photinia

Q: I have a large hedge of red tips and some of them are dying. Can you give me some idea of what might be causing this?

A:It is often difficult to determine the cause of declining woody ornamentals without inspecting the site. After visiting your home and digging around the root system it became a little easier to find a suspect.

Red tip photinia, Photinia X fraseri, are beautiful hedge plants that can reach heights of up to 20 feet. They are easy to grow, like full sun and well drained soils.After discovering the shrubs had very small and weak root systems for their size, I believe the irrigation system you have on them has probably caused a root rot. Some of the shrubs will not recover from the damage, but the others have some hope if you remove the water hoses from around their root systems.Once these shrubs have been established, which usually takes about 3 – 6 months you no longer need to water them on a regular basis. Normal rainfall and lawn irrigation should provide enough water to keep the shrubs healthy. You might have to apply more water if we develop a drought situation, but watering them weekly is really unnecessary. Watering only the first few months of establishment should hold true for most of our landscape shrubs with the exception of our flowering shrubs such as azaleas, gardenias and camellias.