Save the bush!
April 24, 2010 5:35 PM   Subscribe

My bush has parasites or something, and I need advice on what's wrong and how to treat it.

I have a bush, species unknown to me, that seems to be dying off. At first, I thought I'd let too much ice melt wash from the walk onto the soil underneath the bush over the winter, so I didn't think much of the browning. It seems to be spreading now and I'm not sure how to treat it.

Location is in my profile, and I took a couple of pictures in hopes that someone here on the Green has a green thumb.
posted by wierdo to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is not what I thought this question was going to be about. I dunno what the parasite is, but he bush in question is a yew, though. FYI, the plant is poisonous so wash up after you handle or prune it.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:41 PM on April 24, 2010 [23 favorites]

Yews' taxine alkaloids suppress cardiac electrical impulses. No yew salads. Yews are kinda wussy, and go all brown and crummy on the ends pretty easily. Your second photo might be an infestation, or it might be a spider. Strongly recommend you take a clipping of the webby stuff and the dead branch into a good local garden center or agricultural extension for a good in-person diagnosis. Item.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:52 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

FWIW, the picture showing the "web" is only one of the areas with that presentation. I guess I'll have to see if I can find any actual bugs.
posted by wierdo at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2010

Is that a yew or a rosemary? I confess I can't tell from the pictures. Do you have rosemary there? I have both, and I'd just cut back the brown stuff and wait a month, the second picture looks like some nice new growth coming in. However, talking to a local expert can't ever hurt
posted by Some1 at 6:10 PM on April 24, 2010

I don't think it's rosemary, as it doesn't particularly smell of rosemary, and I think rosemary has a darker stripe in the middle of the leaf.

You can download the original photo by mousing over 'options' and clicking download...
posted by wierdo at 6:17 PM on April 24, 2010

That's a yew. Looks like it has a spider mite infestation. You can take a piece of white paper, put it beneath your branch, and give your yew a gentle shake. Look at the paper - do you see teeny tiny red or brown insects? If so those are likely spider mites. They will happily suck all of the juice out of your bush and it will die of dehydration.

This page has some tips on controlling them. Good luck!
posted by Ostara at 6:43 PM on April 24, 2010

I'm very glad this is not about the type of parasites (and, um, bush) that I thought it was about.

In any event, it may be spider mites:

spider mites produce fine, silken webbing between the needles

The spruce spider mite is active during spring and late fall when temperatures are cool. This pest generally restricts its feeding to evergreens, with the exception of yews.

From here.

If you search Google Images for spider mites web, you can check out the pics.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:50 PM on April 24, 2010

My son the amateur botanist and bonsai artist thirds the spider mites. He recommends neem oil. Relatively safe compared to topical or systemic insecticides.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:11 AM on April 25, 2010

I did the paper test, and while I saw a couple of teensy tiny bright red dots (sort of like a chigger) on the paper, they didn't scurry off to the edge (or move at all) like the references said they ought to. I did, however, find a small bug on the bush. It's a little blurry, but just above the center of the photo you can see it. More detail is available by downloading the full size image...

Whatever it is, it's easily visible to the naked eye, not like the mites were described.
posted by wierdo at 3:55 PM on April 25, 2010

Like the references and Ostara said they ought to..
posted by wierdo at 3:56 PM on April 25, 2010

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