Investigating Sudden Plant Death

There are many reasons why otherwise healthy plants suddenly die. This could be the result of too little watering, too much watering, fungal disease or pests.
Related To:

When plants suddenly bite the dust for no apparent reason, gardeners tend to blame themselves for something they did or didn't do. To understand the reason for a plant's demise, you have to do a little detective work, especially with plants that have no apparent signs of insect or disease problems.

There are many reasons for sudden plant death, including gopher damage, microscopic nematodes that attack plant roots, too much fertilizer and so on.

In the vast majority of cases, the cause is as simple as too much or too little water.

Master gardener Paul James planted a carefully coiffed Chamaecyparis 'Boulevard,' but it died from lack of water while he was on an eight-day fishing trip. To find the cause of death, he dug in the soil to a depth of roughly one foot and found it dry as a bone. Unfortunately, his irrigation system didn't reach far enough to water the plant. The opposite happened with a juniper, which received too much water because of a drainage problem.

Next Up

Preventing Powdery Mildew

To prevent powdery mildew, full sunlight is preferred and overcrowding of plants should be avoided.

Effective Fungicides

Got fungal disease on your favorite garden roses or vegetables? Master gardener Paul James offers simple and easy-to-use fungicide treatments to resolve these pesky problems.

What Is Blossom-End Rot?

Blossom-end rot can be mistaken for a plant parasite or virus. It is usually caused by inadequate water and calcium in the soil.

Preventing Garden Diseases

Preventing infection is the best way to control fungal diseases.

What to do About Wilting Tomato Plants?

Here is a tip on how to take care of wilting tomato plants.

Fighting Tomato Blight

Keep blight diseases at bay in the home garden by following these prevention tips.

Preventing Rose Diseases

Many popular roses are unfortunately susceptible to fungal diseases. Follow these steps to keep rose plants healthy and vigorous.

Pest-Controlling Oils

Today's horticultural oils are effective, low in toxicity and can be applied just about any time of year.

Find Garden Remedies in the Kitchen

Learn how to combat garden pests with common items from the kitchen.

Tomato Blossom End Rot

Stop this tomato scourge from getting the best of your garden.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

What's New in Outdoors

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight

House In a Hurry

9:30pm | 8:30c

Island Life

11pm | 10c

Island Life

11:30pm | 10:30c

House In a Hurry

12:30am | 11:30c

Island Life

2am | 1c

Island Life

2:30am | 1:30c

Home Town

4am | 3c

Home Town

5am | 4c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.