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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Oleander Leaf Scorch Disease a Rarity in Las Vegas

Q. We are thinking of putting in a new oleander bush/tree.  But we are concerned about oleander leaf scorch affecting our new plant in the near future.  We've read where the disease has killed oleander in California and Arizona. Has it been found here in the Las Vegas and/or Nevada as a whole?  If not here now, is it wise to put in a new plant?

Oleander with leaf scorch
A. I rarely see any problems on oleander here. Oleander leaf scorch usually occurs in Southern California and not in southern Nevada. I know our state plant pathologist has been watching for it here and is taken several samples looking for it. 

There has been some debate about whether this disease in oleander can be transferred to grapes and cause a similar disease and appearance called Pierce’s Disease. The researcher is pretty firm that it does not.

For more information on oleander leaf scorch I would refer you to the University of California website. If you are convinced that your oleander may be diseased with leaf scorch, contact the Nevada State Department of Agriculture.

Freeze damage of oleander and recovery in the spring
 Diseases are very rare but do happen occasionally. Nothing to worry about. Keep the plants healthy with plenty of water and mulch the soil with organic mulches when possible. Some oleanders are more tender during winter freezes than others. When oleanders become overgrown and woody, cut them within a couple of inches of the ground in the winter and let them grow back from these stumps.

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