Goldmound Spirea Leaves Are Tiny And Black And Brown

Question From: T. Driscoll - Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Q: I have 2 Goldmound Spirea, after pruning last summer, the leaves that grew back were tiny. A couple of black spots developed & I thought that the branches broke, so I cut those off. In the fall, they did not lose their leaves - they still have leaves, black and brown. Are the bushes dead? Thanks.

A: Sounds like the fungal disease Fire Blight *Leaves and Twigs Die Back Due to Fire Blight* This bacterial disease is spread by insects and rain. It is one of the most destructive diseases of some spireas, blighting young twigs and limbs. Leaves die, hang downward and cling to the blighted twigs. Dying branches, which appear scorched, are conspicuous during the summer and ruin the shrubs' ornamental value. Prune out infected branches, cutting at healthy tissue well below blighted areas. Clean the blades of the pruners after every cut with a 10 percent bleach solution so as not to spread the disease. Spray shrubs with Monterey Agri-Fos fungicide or Bordeaux mixture according to package directions . Do not over fertilize, because excess nitrogen makes the shrub more blight-prone. This disease is rarely serious unless the spirea is planted near pears, apples or hawthorns which are also susceptible to it. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy