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Plant Diseases/Ribes (Currant)


QUESTION: Last summer I planted a currant bush that had pinkish flowers and dark blue/black fruit.  In the spring it really started growing with lots of new green growth, blossomed again and produced a lot of new fruit.

Then, all of the sudden, branch by branch the leaves started curling from the edges inward, and began to dry and wither with some yellowing and then fell off (many didn't even yellow).   Eventually the entire bush died.  I didn't see any visible insects.  Sprayed once for insects, and used granulated insect at base in soil.  Sprayed once more for mildew.  All attempts failed.

Plant:  Ribes sanguineum "King EdwardI"
Location:  West exposure-full sun
Water:  Medium
Soil:  Amended clay with good slope drainage
My Location:  Willamette Valley, Oregon   Warm, Clear June-October, Cool Rainy rest

From your description, sounds like the onset of symptoms was rather quick. Thus, at this point it doesn't sound like insect nor disease, but rather a root/soil issue.I would suggest a close exam of the lower parts of the plant.  Look for stem damage and any evidence of root damages as well.  Sometimes shrubs can be root bound at planting, making that transition difficult.  If the plant looks like it is terminal, you may carefully dig it up and see if the root ball is compact.  This situation can lead to transplant shock and death.


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QUESTION: Good points.  I will check the root area, but from every indication it looks okay. Since the plant survived 9 months of rain, with good growth after, I'd tend toward drying out.  But, that doesn't make sense for this species and location.  Let's just say that water was normal.  One point....rather than the whole plant browning or yellowing, it was individual branches one at at a time starting at one point on the branch and then consuming the whole if that one had been sprayed with Roundup.  The leaves in most parts were still green, yet crispy dry.


Can you send along a photo or two? Maybe one of the entire plant and one of a closeup of a dying branch?

Also check the individual branches that are dying.  Look for dark areas or lesions that are one those and not on the green ones. Any stem damage noted? If a stem disease is occurring, you may wish to selectively prune out those and dispose of.


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QUESTION: Sorry, it was a lost cause, so I cut it back to the ground. I doubt I will get any new growth.  I do remember nothing unusual on the back sides of the leaves.   The stems had brown vertical striations...sort of a mottled look, but that seemed consistantly distributed and not particularly raised or bumpy.  By the way, this whole dying process took less than 2 weeks and was rapid with each one of the 6 main branches dying in about 2 days.   Plant was 5 feet high by 3 foot wide.  At planting, a year ago, it was 3 x 2.   Pretty strange.

A couple of my guides mention that some species may get diseased.

I appreciate your ideas.

Thanks for the info. Often a root rot or lower stem issue can take them out rather quickly. Some types are more prone to pests than others.

Let me know if you have any additional problems.  If possible, make it a point to check on your plantings on a regular basis and get an ID on problems as them happen.  You can contact your local nursery and garden center for their advice also.  They may have seen the problem before.  These folks can be a good resource.

Regards and Thanks

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Dr Stephen Vann


Plant Diseases and Disorders of Lawn Grasses, Trees, Vegetables,and Ornamentals


Plant Diseases Identification and Management

B.S. Botany --- Miss. State Univ. M.S. Plant Pathology --- Miss. State Univ. Ph.D. Plant Pathology --- Texas A & M Univ.

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