It appears that your shrub is a yew and there are 5-10 species in the Yew Family shrubs or trees native from Northern temperate areas to the Philippines and Central America. Produce scarlet, cup-shaped arils ("berries") and flat needles that are dark green above and yellowish below. Deer are fond of them. The berries are poisonous, just not to the deer. They like full sun, an acid, moist, well drained soil. They are actually small trees, not foundation plants and should never be planted next to the house! They have beautiful exfoliating bark that is cinnamon colored.
Nor should they be trimmed into little green meatballs or squares. If you plan to do that, you would be better off pulling them out and planting something else. It would be a lot less work.

By | 2016-04-05T11:37:14-07:00 April 5th, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments

Scale Insects On Camellia

Scale insects form raised bumps on leaves and stems as they stick their beaks in to suck the life out of plants. They are not uncommon on holly, nor are aphids; they often coexist as the stressed plant suffers. As they feed, the leaves turn yellow and fall off. Start gaining control by spraying the plants thoroughly with a horticultural oil spray if it's possible to reach them. These oils are highly refined and will not burn if used as directed on the label. Spray the trunks and upper and lower leaf surfaces. This looks like a serious infestation so do consider also using a systemic insecticide to continue control this year. Keep fallen leaves raked up; water and fertilize as usual. The plants are tough; with your help, they'll shake it off and regrow at least a bit this season. .

By | 2016-04-04T23:39:55-07:00 April 4th, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments

Winter Damage

Your plant is an Aucuba, which is a wonderful broadleaf evergreen but borderline hardy in your area. With the winter we've just had, we're seeing LOTS of shrub damage. Not only the cold, but the weight of the snow was very hard for the plants. It's possible your shrub may re-leaf, but it also may not. We suggest you wait a few weeks to see if the old wood produces any new leaves. You can scratch the bark with your fingernail and if you see green underneath that will tell you the wood is still alive. If you don't get any new foliage on the old wood, we advise that you cut back the bare branches to several inches above the ground. Hopefully the shape will still be good, but if it isn't, you may want to replace the shrubs. We hope you don't have to!

By | 2016-04-02T19:44:55-07:00 April 2nd, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments

American Beautyberry

Great shrub. Native. Fall berries. Attracts birds. Wildlife beneficial. A fast grower that can be pruned way back (even to the ground) by deer or shears and rebound in no time. American beautyberry has fragrant, fuzzy green foliage that is considered moderate in its preference to deer. In mid-summer, each leaf axil is surrounded by loads of small, pinkish to bluish flowers followed by clumps of powerfully bright, purple drupes. The flowering to fruiting works its way slowly up each stem until the leaves begin changing to yellow in the fall. After leaf fall, the persistent drupes stay put until the deer and birds nab them. Although tolerant of shade and drought, the best fruiting and growth occurs with plenty of sunlight on a fertile and moist but well drained site.

By | 2016-04-02T12:24:30-07:00 April 2nd, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments

Central Dead Zone

There are a number of reasons that a shrub may get such a dead zone. The most common is age. As the plant continues to grow, it shades out the middle and the leaves there die off. This leaves just a zone of leafless branches. The other common reason is pruning at the wrong time of year. Most plants resent being pruned when it is very hot, and it often either kills part of the plant, or greatly reduces its vigor. The third reason this could happen, which is remote in this case, are root fungal infections. There are many different types, but they tend to present as death of a segment or limb, suddenly and without cause. Suggest you take a sample or this photo to a local nursery or the extension service for confirmation of the exact cause.

By | 2016-04-01T12:48:39-07:00 April 1st, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments


Your flowering shrub is indeed a rhododendron—one of 500-900 species of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs and multitudes of cultivars. Unfortunately we cannot identify your specific species and cultivar but suggest you contact your local Rhododendron society chapter such as: California Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society to see if they can identify your beautiful flower for you. As with all Rhododendrons, they are grown for their showy flowers and beautiful array of colors. They like moist, well drained acidic soil. Shallow planting is essential in that they will not tolerate deep planting. Most like dappled shade in sheltered conditions. They do not tolerate heat well so you see them more often in the northern, cooler climate regions.

By | 2016-03-31T11:36:35-07:00 March 31st, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments


Unfortunately we cannot identify the cultivar or species of rose because there are over 150 wild species of shrubs and climbers native to Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America, plus thousands of different garden forms of varying growth and flower types divided into two broad categories Old Garden Roses and Modern Roses. However, you could contact your local rose society such as the Pacific Rose Society or a horticulturist at your local garden center that specializes in roses and hopefully they can identify further for you. Also there are many helpful websites including: All roses do best in full sun with regular water and feed with a slow release or organic fertilizer formulated for roses.

By | 2016-03-31T01:48:46-07:00 March 31st, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments

Nutrient Deficiency In Camellias

It appears that you have a pretty severe nutrient deficiency. It looks as though it might be a Magnesium and/or Iron deficiency. This happens when the soil is too alkaline for the plant to take up the available Mg/Fe. Camellias, gardenias, azaleas, and hydrangeas all prefer acid soil. You may want to start by adding a soil amendment that is labeled for acid loving plants. Mix it in with your native soil 50/50. Then you want to find a fertilizer that contains chelated Iron and Magnesium. You should be able to find both of these items at your local garden center. Here are a couple of links that you might find helpful:

By | 2016-03-30T14:19:51-07:00 March 30th, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments

Evergreen Euonymus

There are many varieties with varigated foliage so if that what you are referring too, its not a disease. The leaves can change patterns as the plant matures but your shrub looks like it could be winter damage (which doesn't show up until later when the plant begins to receive more intense sunlight), and/or it could also be getting too much water. The yellow on the leaves is normal variegation. But if the green tissue is also turning yellow, I'd guess over-water and maybe lack of Nitrogen, possibly due to the excess water, but may need some fertilizer. Watch out for scale. Euonymous is a scale magnate but we would have to have a closer look for that pest. It is a brown, round shaped pest that can eventually kill the plant.

By | 2016-03-30T09:08:36-07:00 March 30th, 2016|Shrubs|1 Comment

Rose Hips

The orange red orbs are rose hips (the seed bearing fruit of the rose flower) from what may be a rugosa rose, but we cannot say which for sure as there are hundreds of roses for gardens. They are often harvested as a source of vitamin C for tea and some people make a jam out of them. Before eating any, please get a confirmation of the identity from another source such as your local garden center or cooperative extension service, ideally with some cutting samples in hand. Also make sure the plant has been raised organically with no chemical fungicides or insecticides sprayed on or near the plant. This is especially important with roses as all sorts of poisons are often sprayed on them or put into the soil where they are absorbed by the plant.

By | 2016-03-30T02:23:57-07:00 March 30th, 2016|Shrubs|0 Comments