Bottle Brush partially dying
I have to bottle brush tree on beachside of the front stoop. I live in Beach City Texas 77523 and both have survived hurricane Ike with no problems. This year one is doing well and the other has dying limbs in it. Part of the tree is green and blooming but the other part is turning brown and leaves are falling off. Any help would be great as the are both about 6' tall and I don't want to loose it. Thanks-Julie Candelari
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Most diseases that can kill these plants are related to over-watering and soggy soil. Root rot, Stem disease and Leaf Spot.
Poor soil conditions and over-watering combine to kill bottle brush trees through root rot. Caused by several different fungi, root rot affects stressed roots, especially those that are in soggy soil. Because roots cannot absorb oxygen from the soil, they slowly die, allowing fungi to proliferate across the entire root structure. As a result, moisture and nutrients cannot reach the stems and leaves.
Bottle brush trees with a few spots on their leaves are not threatened by fungal leaf spot, but widespread fungal growth along most of the foliage can kill the plant.
Bacteria play a role in bottle brush tree death if over-watering is a consistent problem. For example, wet soil allows bacteria to grow along the roots and into the vascular system where it travels to the stem. Vegetative growth is stunted significantly and the bottle brush produces thin limbs, referred to as witches' brooms. These evergreens benefit from a spot in full sun where water quickly evaporates from the ground.