Plant Diseases/forsythia


I have many forsythia bushes throughout my property, they are established plants. These plants have had no problems however, I noticed today that several have whole sides turning brown and dying, others look like something just fell in the middle of them and forced then open and the leaves look totally wilted. I live in Va. and we have had an abundance of rain lately. Can you give me any ideas as to the problem?

Dear Jane, Your forsythia probably have splits in the wood that are causing the damage.  This could have been caused by the rain, but sometimes it just happens on long stems, or just in general on older bushes.  The wilted and brown areas are going to be the split stems.  If you go down on the stem from the wilted area, you will find either a break in the stem, or a borer hole.  You might also see rodent gnawing, or damage from a weedeater or lawnmower.  Another thing to look for would be large knotty growths.  These are galls and should be pruned out of the bush.  From these points the bush will lose sap and moisture and begin to wilt.  Now if you check carefully and don't find any cuts, breaks, damage, or galls, then it is possible your forsythia are just too waterlogged, although I doubt that.  If the bushes are standing in water, try to improve the drainage around the bushes by digging small trenches.  I would give the bushes a thorough going over by checking the stems, do some pruning, remove all plant debris to reduce any possibility of disease, and see if you need to help the drainage.  I hope this information helps you, but be sure to write back if you have more questions.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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