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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
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problem/Wgardening. so. ca usa. olienders seem to be dying

Customer Question

problem/Wgardening. so. ca usa. olienders seem to be dying approx 20 years of healthy plant ,should i pull them out start over ????????
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. Some additional information will be useful.

What symptoms are the trees showing - yellowing of leaves, oozing sap, branches dying, etc.? The more specific you can be, the better.

Has anything unusual happened int he area recently - construction, digging, excessive rain, etc.?

How may trees are involved?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
5 trees.they are more like a bush than a tree. these are ever green ,however they are acting like seasonat plants.I have white,red &pink flowers thru spring &summer pink & red r ok white plants approx 20 years old . white only have now brown leafs possably frost bite ,how ever i do not recall seeing this cal no freezing 1111 thx g
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Oleander bushes and trees are subject to the same diseases. The trees are simply bushes that have been pruned to a single trunk. There is a disease called oleander leaf scorch that began in Orange County in the 1990's, and has since spread throughout southern California. It is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. It is believed to have been introduced in the early 1990's from overseas. It does often begin with leaves becoming yellow, but they turn brown. Many homeowners don't notice the yellowing, but do notice when the leaves turn brown. There is no treatment or cure. If the bushes have undamaged areas on them, pruning can sometimes prolong how long they live, but they will eventually die.

Frost can cause browning leaves, but if you've had no frost, that is not a possibility. With frost damage, new growth appears when the damaged areas are pruned off. If lack of water was the problem, you would probably have seen wilting before the leaves turned brown. The other diseases these plants get cause oozing from the bark, and/or dark, blackened areas on the bark in addition to brown leaves. These factors, along with how common leaf scorch has become make me believe it is the most likely cause of the problem.

It is generally recommended to destroy oleanders that are affected by leaf scorch. If you replace them with more oleanders, they will get the disease, too. It's best to find a different species. Ceanothis is one that grows well in southern California, and many gardeners are replacing oleanders with it. It is sometimes referred to as California lilac. Here is a photo:


You should be able to find these plants in local nurseries and garden centers. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna and 23 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
your answer is great i tried to print w no luck.??
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
I'm glad to be of help. I'm not sure what to tell you about the printing. You could try copying and pasting it to a word processing document and then printing.


There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you.