Wax leaf ligustrum diseases

Cercospora Leaf Spot of Ligustrum

Pathogen: caused by the fungus Cercospora sp. This is a common disease of Ligustrum species. There are two Cercospora species which cause this leaf spot disease. A related species, Pseudocercospora causes similar spots.

Pathogen cycle: These fungi survive adverse conditions in leaves in the canopy and in fallen leaves. The spores they produce are wind blown or carried in splashing water to infect new leaves.

Management: Remove fallen leaves from beneath the plants. Avoid overhead irrigation, or water in the early morning hours so that the foliage dries before nightfall.

Cercospora spp. can be difficult to manage because they do not always respond to some of the more commonly used fungicides. Two products that seem to work well against Cercospora diseases are SYSTHANE (myclobutanil) and HERITAGE (azoxystrobin). Other fungicides that also are labeled for these diseases include MEDALLION and those that contain the active ingredients propiconazole (BANNER, SAVVI, SPECTATOR, etc.), thiophanate-methyl (OHP 6672, 3336, FUNGO, T-STORM, SYSTEC-1998, etc.), mancozeb (DITHANE, FORE, PENTATHLON, PROTECT, etc.), and chlorothalonil (DACONIL, CLOROSTAR, ECHO, etc.). Do not use chlorothalonil products on pittosporum. Likewise, the combination products ZYBAN (mancozeb + thiophanate-methyl, MANHANDLE (myclobutanil + mancozeb), and SPECTRO 90 (thiophanate-methyl + chlorothalonil) also should be effective. All of these fungicides should be applied preventatively–i.e., before symptoms occur to be most effective. They will not cure established infections but will protect healthy foliage from becoming infected.

Fungicides for use in home gardens include thiophanate‑methyl products (e.g. CLEARY 3336) mancozeb products (e.g. DITHANE)and chlorothalonil products(e.g. DACONIL).

Waxleaf Ligustrum Problems – Knowledgebase Question

Waxleaf Privet (Ligustrum japonicum)
Posted by Kelli
Generally, when top foliage yellows and dies it indicates a problem with the roots. As roots die off, yellowing progresses down the tree or shrub until there’s nothing left. You can check to see if the tops of the shrubs are still alive by scraping the bark with your thumbnail. If you find green tissue beneath the bark, the stem is still alive. If you find brown tissue, that part of the plant is dead. Sometimes dead stems can be pruned away and new growth will emerge – if you correct the underlying problem causing the distress. Roots will rot when kept too moist (they suffocate). Placing a thick layer of mulch over roots that have previously only had soil on top might be enough to block evaporation and hold too much moisture in the soil. This can lead to root rot. Also, wood chips, if they’re fresh, can rob nitrogen from the soil, leaving shrub and tree roots without a source of food.
Watering infrequently but deeply is a good practice. It forces roots to grow down into the soil rather than up close to the surface where they are subject to injury.
Finally, some plants simply grow old and die. This may be what’s happening to your shrubs, or they may be under more stress than they can handle through a combination of drought, excessive moisture, heat, cold, and/or a thick layer of mulch. Try scraping the bark to see whether or not the tops of the plants are still alive. If not, prune down to live material to encourage new growth. While you’re waiting for that to happen, continue to water deeply until fall rains take over for you. I think I’d remove the mulch material out from under the shrubs, just for good measure. If the plants don’t perk up for you by next spring, you may want to replace them with healthy new specimens.

Ligustrum Tree Diseases

Ligustrum, or privet, is a vigorously growing evergreen with several variations, including the Japanese privet, Chinese privet, California privet and the glossy privet. These relatively low-growing trees produce dense, richly colored foliage that makes Ligustrum trees ideal for landscaping borders and hedges.


Anthracnose is a blighting disease that targets the Ligustrum tree’s newly developing shoots and foliage. The fungal spores lie dormant within the crevices of the tree and emerge during the rainy days of the early spring. The Ligustrum tree’s young foliage becomes curled and distorted, and develops small, dark colored spots that turn into enlarged, sunken lesions. Some of the shoots may die before emergence. Severely infected trees may experience defoliation, and develop cankers on twigs and branches.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that is most aggressive during the late summer and early fall months. This mildewing disease infects the foliage surfaces with coverings of powdery white fungus. Though mostly a cosmetic disease, severe powdery mildew infections can cause the Ligustrum tree’s foliage to become distorted and weaken the overall health of the tree.

Root Rot

Ligustrum trees infected with phymatotrichum root rot have little chance for survival. This soil-borne fungal disease infects the Ligustrum through its root system. The severity of the disease is promoted by the Ligustrum’s rapid growth. This root rot causes the breakdown of the tree’s vascular system, which prevents the transport of nutrients and water throughout the tree. The infected tree experiences browning and wilting of the foliage, dieback and growth stunt. Ligustrum trees infected by phymatotrichum root rot should be removed and discarded.


Most of the Ligustrum’s infectious predators can be avoided with general maintenance and preventative steps. Always keep the privet’s planting area free of debris, as this will eliminate many of the area’s fungal spores. Treat the privet regularly throughout the growing season with a fungicidal spray to reduce the potential for infections.

Sunshine Ligustrum

Fast-Growing, Hardy Shrub with Brilliant Foliage All Year

Sunshine Ligustrum, Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’, is a fast-growing, compact shrub with ornamental foliage. These make a lively border, and would certainly dress up your walkway, creating a cheery welcome for guests.

Your Sunshine Ligustrum is a variety of Privet with golden foliage all summer long. Its golden color is enhanced by sun exposure, so use this in places where its optima color can be realized.

You’ll adore how the new leaves emerge light green in the spring before transitioning to their bright colors for summer. The small oval leaves’ glossy surface is a warm invitation to the sun’s illuminating rays. Your Sunshine Ligustrum will hold onto its golden color for winter, adding a slight orange tint to spice up the dreary winter landscape.

Sunshine Ligustrum will grow up to 4 feet in height with an equal spread. It’s a multi-stemmed shrub with an upright, spreading nature. It’s fast-growing and long lived (under optimal conditions reaching up to 30 years or more). Deer tend to pass Sunshine Ligustrum by, as do other common pests. Its dense nature is terrific for topiary, so if you feel a creative urge to prune it into a unique shape, it will certainly be amenable.

Your Sunshine Ligustrum is the type of shrub gardeners love to rave about! It will adapt to many spots in your landscape, you can choose to prune it or leave it natural, pests don’t bother it and its color lasts all year round. There is no downside to this remarkable, ornamental shrub so plant one today and begin to reap its rich rewards.

* Evergreen shrub with bright color
* 4-season interest
* Deer resistant
* Heat tolerant
* Mildew resistant
* Fast growing
* Urban tolerant
* Long lived
* Insect resistant
* Salt tolerant
* Great for topiary
* Drought tolerant
* Adaptive to a variety of soil conditions

Mystery SOLVED – Privet Hedge Dying for No Apparent Reason

You have a beautiful hedge that has lasted for almost half a decade now. However, you are noticing that certain parts of the privet row have started to wilt for no apparent reason.

The leaves of the privet hedge are turning yellow at first, then purple or even black. The decay has started from one side and it is now slowly spreading across the entire length of the hedge… Ligustrum spp. or privet is thought to be really hardy and often survive for years on end without much maintenance. Is this a problem caused by the way in which you took care of your plant, or is it some uncommon disease? Can you do anything to save it?

If you are:

  • The owner of a dying privet hedge;
  • Looking to diagnose what’s wrong with your plant;
  • Searching for effective treatment,

Then this article is for you!

The general symptoms of this privet hedge’s disease include:

  • Slow, but steady death of the plant in the span of 2 to 3 years, costing you about a metre or two of the hedge in an annual loss
  • A what seems like a privet hedge spreading disease that is progressing from one end to the other. Eventually, leaves turn dark purple, or black, and fall off
  • The bark is peeled easily and has a musty mushroom smell
  • The bark has black or grey blotches
  • The roots can be pulled out easily

It does start to sound like some kind of a disease, doesn’t it? There’s one thing, however, that remains hidden.

So, what’s the cause for your privet hedge to be slowly perishing?

The offender here does not always make itself known, although in many cases they do have a distinctive trait – the black “bootlaces” under the bark of the plant. Based on the symptoms, the reason for your privet hedge to be dying is:

A common privet killer – Honey Fungus (Armillaria) – a fungal disease that spreads through the soil. Very destructive in nature, it feeds on the roots of the hedge and leaves them decaying afterwards. Privet (Ligustrum) in particular is highly susceptible to Honey Fungus. The fungi themselves tend to target weak or old plants. The older the plant is, the longer it takes to kill it.

Avoiding damp soil conditions when watering and providing adequate drainage will significantly lower the chances for the fungus to thrive. Poor ventilation should also not be underestimated as it can also exacerbate your fungus problem. In fact, this particular species is to blame for 90% of the privet hedge root rot problems.

Note that it is not necessary for the typical black “bootlaces” to be visible or even present, for that matter. When you are unsure of what you’re dealing with, a smart move is to take a sample of the infected plant and have it tested at a local laboratory.

Treating Honey Fungus outbreaks

As these fungi have the ability to vigorously spread underground, there is not much that can be done for the infected plants. Your hedge is already irreversibly ill and all diseased parts should be removed and, preferably, burned. However, you can still save the rest of the unaffected plants. Here’s how to treat honey fungus affected plants and areas:

  1. Dig out all diseased plants along with the roots. Dig down to at least 40 cm. This includes even the surrounding parts of the hedgerow that appear healthy.
  2. Get rid of the green waste and make sure not to toss it in the compost bin. Don’t use any of the wood as mulch as it is contagious.
  3. Remove the infected soil and replace it with healthy new soil. Consider that the disease can be present in up to a metre around the infected plants. Throw away the soil as it has already been contaminated. Here’s an easy way to get rid of the waste.
  4. Install a plastic barrier in the perimeter of the infected area. The barrier should go at least 45 cm deep into the ground and should surround the presumably infected area.
  5. Use Armillatox or Jeyes Fluid on the area where the hedges once grew. Dilute your product of choice in water (20:1) and soak the new soil with the solution. These products are known to be the only ones to work when it comes to dealing with what actually kills the honey fungus.
  6. Wait for at least 8 months before planting anything on this patch of soil. This will starve the fungi to death in case it hasn’t already been completely eradicated by the previous steps.
  7. Plant a different species of plants that have high resistance to the fungus. There are plants that have rarely been recorded to suffer from this condition and it has only happened if they were already old or ill.

Some hedging plants resistant to the honey fungus that you can pick include Corokia, Griselinia, Box (Buxus), both Italian and common Alder (Alnus), Brachyglottis, Tamarix, Fuchsia, Santolina, Hippophae, Genista.

And now, some clarifications…

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What are Jeyes Fluid and Armillatox, and why are they effective VS honey fungus?

Truth be told, there’s no commercially available treatment for honey fungus.

Or at least it is not branded as such.

More than 10 years ago, Armillatox was available as a fungi killer. Its design and name (honey fungus – Armillaria, therefore “Armillatox”) were created for the sole purpose of killing off the fungi. But then the EU banned most acid and tar oil-based pesticides.
The product is now rebranded as a soap-based patio cleaner, but its formula remains the same and just as effective. The same can be said for Jeyes Fluid. Nowadays, an Armillatox or a Jeyes Fluid honey fungus treatment can still be executed – look the products up in your local DIY and hardware stores. When you apply either of these, make sure to avoid direct contact with any part of the plants that are above the ground. Apply to soil only, at a 20:1 water to pesticide ratio.

Are these supposed cleaners potentially damaging to your plants?

As they were once used as pesticides, the formulation of either product is designed for killing fungi and nothing but fungi. Here’s a more detailed answer to whether Armillatox and Jeyes Fluid are really harmful to your plants:

Jeyes Fluid does not kill your plants and neither will Armillatox. Just make sure you use the right dilution rates of 20:1 in favour of water (e.g. 500ml of Jeyes in 10 litres of water). As the sterilisation occurs mainly on the soil, it’s recommended that you use a watering can to apply the solution.


  • The most common hedge killer is Honey Fungus (Armillaria).
  • Honey Fungus spreads through the soil and feeds on roots.
  • Privet hedges are especially susceptible to Honey Fungus.
  • To lower the risk of infection, avoid damp soil conditions when watering and provide good drainage.
  • The infected parts of the plant should be removed and the soil replaced.
  • Armillatox and Jeyes Fluid are effective fungicides.


Was this article helpful? Do you have any experience dealing with this issue? Let us know in the comments below!

Image source: / By Pinkyone

  • Last update: October 31, 2019

Posted in Garden Advice

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Privet. The word is virtually synonymous with hedges and, although it has no definitive etymology, some linguists maintain that privet is a variation of private. Indeed, privets are typically utilized as green barriers for privacy enhancement.
If you are fanatic about having a neatly trimmed hedge, one that can grow as tall as 20 feet, you will want to take a careful look at California privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium). No, this is not a California native and no one knows why it was given its name, unless perhaps to distinguish it from the more common Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum). Both privets, as a matter of fact, are indigenous to Japan.
California privet lends itself to frequent pruning due to the small size and soft texture of its leaves. The more common Japanese or wax leaf privet, by contrast, has larger, semi-succulent leaves, making it more of a burden to trim. While Japanese privet also grows to 20 feet, its Texas privet cultivar (Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’) grows half that size and is the most popular selection for a low to medium size hedge. There is also a variegated silver and green Texas privet, although it may revert back, when regularly trimmed, to its solid green form.
Texas privat is a highly misunderstood plant that grows best in half-day sun, if not partial shade. Planted in more than half day sun, it requires regular water or its foliage will burn during the summer. In addition, the more sun it gets, the more susceptible it is to chlorosis, or leaf yellowing, brought on by iron deficiency. Japan’s climate is wetter, its soil pH is more acidic, and its soil iron is more available, than in Southern California. Although iron is present in Valley soil, it may be locked up by alkaline minerals and unavailable to plants. Texas privet, bottlebrush, eucalyptus, Pittosporum ‘Wheeler’s Dwarf,’ sweet gum (Liquidambar), gardenia and azalea may all become chlorotic if exposed to too much sun in combination with a sparse watering regime.
Glossy leaf privet (Ligustrum lucidum) has the largest leaves of the commonly grown local privet species and is best allowed to develop into a tall, informal hedge, reaching up to 30 feet, where pruning is not required except to keep it from growing out of bounds. Glossy leaf privet is a workhorse of a plant. It grows quickly in full sun to semi-shady conditions. Its lone drawback is that it eventually produces a heavy litter of purple, pulpy fruit that will stain concrete surfaces, so you may not want to plant it near pool decks or sidewalks.
Privet flowers have a scent that is sweet to offensive, depending on who does the sniffing. The smaller and more delicate flowers of California privet, in my humble opinion, are more agreeably aromatic than the larger panicles of white blooms produced by the other privet types, although you will find plenty of gardeners who extol the fragrance of all privet flowers.
Q. I planted three zucchini approximately two months ago. When I bought them they were about 4-inches tall. They flowered, the flowers faded and nothing now. I read somewhere that a male and female plant were needed in order to produce fruit. If this is true, how do you determine a male or female plant when they are only 4-inches tall when planted?
A. Botanically speaking, zucchini fruit are enlarged plant ovaries. When these ovaries begin to swell, female flowers open on the ovaries’ terminal ends. Male flowers, located in leaf axils or joints closer to the center of the plant, produce pollen that must reach female flower parts known as stigmas in order that pollination and full ovary (fruit) development take place.
Normally, honeybees are the messengers that bring pollen from male to female flowers. In recent years, however, there has been a significant decline in the honey bee population. Colony collapse disorder, where bees mysteriously disappear from colonies and hives, is a worldwide phenomenon, and is thought to be caused by the combined action of a pathogenic fungus and a virus, although other factors, both biotic and abiotic, may be involved. In addition, varroa mites are a constant threat to honey bee colonies.
You can still grow zucchini, even without honey bees, through manual pollination. You will need a small artist’s paintbrush to do the job. When male flowers open, dust pollen onto your brush and apply it to the stigmas, readily visible in the center of the female flowers. This will have the same effect as honey bee pollination. Once your flowers have been pollinated, you will see your fruits, left unchecked, grow far bigger than supermarket zucchinis. Yet zucchini is tastier when harvested earlier in its development, at about the size you see it in the supermarket, at the stage where you can still pierce through its skin with your thumbnail.
Q. I was wondering if you can help me figure out what is happening to my drawf peach tree. It has tiny fruit and has never produced. However this year the leaves are curling and it has big red bumps on the leaves. At first I thought it was full of bugs, but the bumps look like tumors. Is there anything we can do to stop it and protect the other trees from getting it?
A. Your tree is suffering from peach leaf curl, a fungus disease. The only way to control it is with a fungicide application, either in the fall when nearly all leaves have dropped, or in early spring just before buds start to stir with life and swell. To be safe, you can apply fungicide in both fall and spring. Make sure to follow fungicide application instructions carefully and to drench the entire tree since fungal spores reside on stems, branches, and trunk. That being said, it is difficult to grow tasty peaches of any variety in the Valley, and dwarf peach trees, aside from their ornamental interest, will be especially hard pressed to yield edible fruit.
I would love to hear from readers who have grown peaches or nectarines successfully in the Valley.
– Jim McAllister, Burbank – Susan Hammarlund, Porter Ranch
Tip of the week
You should try to grow at least one sweet olive bush. Sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans) is a privet relative whose alluring fragrance is unquestionable. In fact, according to some olfactory mavens, sweet olive has the most sweet smelling flowers of any plant.
If only it were easy to grow! You see sweet olive planted widely enough but few understand its cultural needs. In order for it to thrive, it requires monthly fertilization, including iron, slightly above average soil moisture, ideally achieved with drip irrigation, and protection from the day’s hottest sun. The fragrance of its flowers is fruity, smooth and intoxicating. Still, to appreciate it fully, you will have to practically touch your nostrils to the petals. It is sometimes called tea olive on account of the unique aroma provided by an infusion of its flowers in a pot of brewed tea.

Texanum Japanese Privet

This fast grower is covered with attractive waxy oval leaves; the shrub has a more open shape as it ages, it is quite beautiful and can be limbed up and used for bonsai; shows drought tolerance; delightful panicles of white flowers; makes a great hedge.

Add to Wishlist Add to Wishlist SKU: 3a555ccbb3bf Category: Shrubs

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Species: japonicum

Other Species Names: Waxleaf Privet

Plant Height: 120 in.

Spread: 72 in.

Evergreen: Yes

Plant Form: upright spreading

Summer Foliage Color: dark green

Minimum Sunlight: partial shade

Maximum Sunlight: full sun

Ornamental Features

Texanum Japanese Privet features showy panicles of lightly-scented white flowers at the ends of the branches in mid spring. It has dark green foliage. The glossy pointy leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Texanum Japanese Privet is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition. This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It has no significant negative characteristics. Texanum Japanese Privet is recommended for the following landscape applications; Mass Planting Hedges/Screening General Garden Use Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens Topiary Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Texanum Japanese Privet will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years. This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. Texanum Japanese Privet makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Privet Diseases

Privet plants are shrubs or small trees belonging to the Ligustrum genus. Gardeners of privet may encounter several diseases, most of which can be prevented by providing good air circulation and drainage. Once infected, some privet diseases may require the use of a fungicide and others may require full removal of the shrub and its root system.

Anthracnose attacks weakened privet plants during warm weather and spreads by splashing rain. Tan spots with pink or white spores in the center form on the leaves of infected plants. Cankers may form on branches or twigs. The leaves shrivel and become dry but remain on the shrub. Prune back diseased branches with clean pruning tools and disinfect the tools between each cut. Use rubbing alcohol or a mixture of one part bleach and nine parts water to sterilize your tools. When shoots begin to emerge, apply fungicides to the shrub. Choose resistant cultivars such as Amur, California or Ibota privet.

Cercospora Leaf Spot

The fungal disease Cercospora leaf spot attacks privet during wet weather. Pale yellow spots appear on the leaves. These spots eventually turn brown with reddish brown or purple edges. This disease overwinters on fallen foliage, so regularly clean up fallen leaves and dispose of them away from the garden. Provide significant space between plants to increase air circulation. Avoid watering the foliage or water in the morning to allow time for the leaves to dry. Purchase a fungicide and apply it to both sides of the leaves during wet weather to prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Corynespora Leaf Spot

Small, round, reddish leaf spots appear on plants infected with Corynespora leaf spot. Spots grow in size and turn brown with purple edges. Spots may merge and cause the entire leaf to turn brown and drop from the shrub. Avoid overhead watering and provide air circulation between plants to prevent this disease. Apply fungicides designed to fight leaf spot diseases. This disease attacks Ligustrum sinense, commonly known as Chinese privet. Choose other varieties to avoid Corynespora leaf spot.

Mushroom Root Rot

Mushroom root rot, also known as armillaria root rot, can lead to the death of a privet shrub. Leaves dry out and branches die. If you remove the bark at the base of an infected privet, you will notice a layer of white fungus. Mushrooms may grow in clusters at the base of the plant. Plant privet in well-drained soil to prevent this disease. Remove and dispose of infected plants and surrounding soil.

Wet Root Rot

Wet root rot diseases cause stunted growth and the thinning of foliage. Old leaves turn yellow and the outer layers of the roots begin to decay. Avoid planting privet too deep and plant only in well-drained soil. Check the roots of your privet before planting for signs of this disease. Apply fungicides according to the product’s directions to fight wet root rot.

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