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Phytophthora root rot - Diseases

Phytophthora root rot - Diseases

Phytophthora root rot - Diseases

Why is my conifer browning in the centre?

If the foliage is browing from the centre of the tree, scattered and working its way out along the branches it is very suggestive of a soil borne fungal infection such as Phytophthora root rot to which conifers are particularly susceptible to. This type of root rot occurs most frequently in warm wet soils. Given that you have watered it regularly and it is planted in a sheltered position, I would imagine that such conditions are present. There are no chemical cures available for this problem so it is recommended that infected plants are removed and destroyed.

Prevention is generally better than cure. If you decide to replace the plant you will need to improve the soil well before replanting and avoid excessive watering and mulching with manures that hold water in the soil. If you are gardening on heavy clay then perforate the sides of the planting hole before planting your tree to ensure good drainage.

Sue Sanderson T&M horticulturalist

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.