Plant

(Question)

Hi, the attached photo is a plant in my front lawn garden of my home. I’m not sure what type of plant it is but have noticed clusters of dark, hard sacks growing off the branches of the plant all over. The leaves continue to grow so I don’t think the plant is dead but I’m now wondering if this plant is diseased and should be removed in its entirety. I have 2 of these plants in the my garden on opposite ends and both are covered in these clusters.
Your help is very much appreciated.

(Answer)

The plant in question looks like a Euonymus fortunei with a crown gall growing on it. The gall is caused by a soil borne bacterium called Agrobacterium tumefaciens. While the plant may survive for years with the disease, the gall will adversely affect its ability to take up water and nutrients and can spread to other susceptible plans such as roses. The bacterium is easily transferred on tools or in the soil and can survive for many years before infecting the plants. A previous post on our site gives some detailed information about crown galls. http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/crown-gall-in-euonymus/ 

I would advise you to remove both plants.  New plants can be protected by dipping their roots into a solution of Agrobacterium radiobacter (Galltrol-A)* before you plant them but it would be better to replace them with a plant that is resistant to the bacteria. If you are looking for something with a similar low profile, you could try a low growing yew such as Taxus cuspidata ‘Nana Aurescens’. This yew will spread widthwise but is only 2 1/2′ tall. It has dark green needles but new growth is gold coloured. Another suggestion is a Mahonia. There are low growing varieties and mahonia have small yellow flowers in spring and often turn red in the fall.

*Bradley, F. M.,  Ellis, B.W., and Martin, D.L.,ed. 2009. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control. Rodale Inc. N.Y.