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I have 2 red tipped photinas in my front yard against the house (south facing). They were great for the first 3 years, but now, for the last 2 winters the leaves have dried out and dropped in the spring. I thought it was a lack of water over the winter, so I tried to help out, but that didnt help. Should I prune them back in the fall or is there anything I can do to help them so this doesn't happen next winter?

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Many things can cause the symptoms you describe.  I'm not sure where in Utah you live, but red-tipped photinias, with a cold hardiness rating of zone 6, are only marginally cold-hardy along the Wasatch Front. (Salt Lake is zone 5 -- annual minimum temperatures lower than zone 6). Our last two winters were colder than normal, so the low temperatures may have damaged the broadleaf evergreen leaves of your plants.

Red-tip photinias are also susceptible to a number of diseases, including leaf spot and fireblight.  You should take samples of leaves with and without symptoms to your local county Extension office where they may be able to help diagnose your problem, or they may instruct you how to send your samples to the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab on the campus of Utah State University.

Posted on 28 Apr 2008

Heidi Kratsch
Ornamental Horticulture Specialist

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