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Forsythia dying

We have a rather large section of forsythia and it is dying.  The leaves are wilting and falling off.  I can see no sign of galls or fungus.  It is on the side of a slope, and the side toward the top of the slope is dying first.  The lower side is still fairly healthy.  Is it possible they got too much water?  We have had lots of rain here in the Pittsburgh area and the top area was saturated for several weeks.  I would really hate to lose the whole section because it separates us from the neighbor's uncut yard.

Thank you for taking the time to answer,

Dear Michelle, I did a little extra research to double check, but yes, the most likely reason for your forsythia not doing well is most likely the saturated soil.  Standing in water is just deadly for many plants, and with forsythia, it is just the one thing it will not tolerate.  You might want to use this as an opportunity to prune the entire hedge some; it will help it grow back bushier and will help the sicker portion of the hedge to recover.  Try to dig some shallow trenches near the bushes to drain off water if they are still saturated.  If they are already beginning to dry, then just try to wait it out.  Do some pruning and hopefully they will will start to show signs of new growth within a few weeks.  You will know that they will recover when you see new leaves coming out.  If you don't see anything new come out within about two months, and the wood is brittle, then you might consider replacing the bushes at that time.  If you need a privacy screen from the neighbors (I truly understand this) then consider getting the largest bushes you can buy as the hedge will look complete sooner.  Good luck, Melissa

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