Purple Smoke Bush Leaves Shriveled Dried Up And Turned Brown

Question From: Monroe, Michigan, United States
Q: within the last couple of weeks, the leaves on my eight year old Purple /Smoke bush shrivled, dried up and turned brown. It started at the top of the shrub and has quickly affected the whole shrub. Is ther anything I can do to save this shrub?

A: Two things come to mind. One is the tree was hit by some sort of herbicide. If the branches are still green/ alive, keeping it watered may save it. Verticillium wilt, a soil borne fungus may be the culprit. If so the tree is toast and should be cut down. The inner wood of the larger branches may show streaking of green, gray or black. The tree should be tested for the disease as it remains in the soil. You will need to replace it with a tree that is resistant to the disease. Check with your local independent garden center or nursery (not a big box store) for recommendations. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.

Comment: Thank you for your quick reply. Unfortunately, I think it is wilt which is sad. I did't know if I shoul leave it in place until Spring to see if it would come back or pull it out a d destroy it. Now.

Response: If you have decided it is wilt I would take it out now. Get as much of the roots as possible and either burn or put the carcass in the garbage. Clean your tools with alcohol when you are finished. Best Nancy and Happy Yardening.