Q. I have a tree that appears to be dying but I don’t know what it is. I was reading your article about the disease on ash trees and tried to access the pictures of ash trees but couldn't find them. I believe the tree is about 15 years old.
A. Thank you for sending me pictures of your tree. I can tell you it is definitely not an ash tree. It was difficult to identify from the pictures but from the close-up of the leaves I think it is Japanese privet, sometimes called wax leaf privet.
This is a tree or sometimes grown as a shrub commonly planted in southern Nevada. If this is wax leaf privet you should see clusters of white flowers followed by black berries about the size of blueberries in the same clusters.
|Privet with leaf drop and twiggy dieback due to irrigation|
They frequently have the same problem here which is dieback of small branches which makes them look very “twiggy”. I posted a picture of this plant growing in southern Nevada on my blog that shows this branch dieback and leaf drop I am talking about.
This plant doesn’t like our desert environment or drip irrigation very much. It definitely does not like rock mulch. They prefer growing in a much lusher environment.
The only time I really see them looking good is when they're surrounded by a lawn that receives a lot of water. You might try putting bedding plants that require watering water every couple of days and surround the tree with wood mulch or a very lush lawn.
They do great in East Texas all the way back to the Carolinas but do not look all that well in landscapes located in the dry or desert West.
See these links in this blog