How to Care for a Diseased Red-Tip Photinia


Red-tip photinia (Photinia x fraseri), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 9, is a hybrid shrub highly prized for the coppery red flush it puts out each spring. It’s popularity led to overplanting and the onset of entomosporium leaf spot, a common fungal disease in the plant. Signs of the disease include small, red spots on the tops and undersides of new leaves while older leaves have brown or gray spots with purplish rings. The disease causes leaf drop and eventually death of the plant if left untreated. If caught early, however, it can be controlled with a fungicide.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Trash bag
  • Mulch
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Long pants
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tebuconazole-based fungicide
  • 1-gallon container
  • Pump-style, pressurized sprayer
  • Rake all leaves that fell from the red-tip photinia. Place those leaves in a trash bag for disposal.

  • Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of fresh mulch around the base of the shrub, covering the ground completely. Mulch traps missed leaves, and fresh mulch reduces the risk of spreading the disease.

  • Put on a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, shoes and rubber gloves. Mix 3/4 fluid ounce, or 1 1/2 tablespoons, of a tebuconazole-based fungicide with 1 gallon of water in a pump-style, pressurized sprayer. Secure the sprayer's lid on the sprayer, and shake the spray until its contents are mixed. Pressurize the sprayer by pumping it. Continue to wear protective clothing when using the fungicide, even in its diluted form.

  • Adjust the sprayer's nozzle to a narrow pattern that will prevent overspray onto nearby plants. Spray the entire shrub, coating new stem growth, leaf petioles and tops and undersides of all leaves until they are covered but not dripping the fungicide. After the spray dries completely, it is rainproof.

  • Repeat the fungicide application every seven to 14 days for a total of three applications per growing season. Do not apply the spray when the weather is hot and dry; wait for conditions to change even if it is outside the seven- to 14-day period.

Tips & Warnings

  • When watering a plant, always water at the base, and do not overwater or allow water to splash onto the leaves. Waterlogged soil and wet leaves promote fungal growth.
  • Mature leaves are less susceptible to leaf spot than new growth. Keep new growth to a minimum by pruning only when the plant is dormant. Stop fertilizing about midsummer to inhibit late-season new growth.
  • Disinfect pruning tools periodically while pruning. Doing so prevents the spread of disease to other parts of a plant or other plants. Sanitize all tools used around an infected plant.
  • Create good air circulation for red-tip photinia in a hedge by removing a few plants to create at least 4 feet of space between the shrubs. Hedges have little air flow between plants and hold moisture, increasing the spread of disease.
  • Fungicide containing tebuconazole can be purchased at most garden centers. If it is not available, look for a product containing myclobutanil or triforine, and mix it according to its product's label directions.
  • Follow all instructions on the fungicide’s label, including wearing protective clothing, avoiding inhalation of the spray mist and avoiding contact with eyes.
  • Do not allow pets or humans to enter the treated area until the spray is dry.
  • Do not apply a fungicide near bodies of water or fruit and vegetable plants.

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