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I live in London, UK and have had this shrub in my garden since I moved in 2 years ago. It looks like it has been shaped/pruned.

The small bush

Small berries

Two years ago, there were tiny green leaves which turned red in autumn. And the plant sets tiny berries. Last year, the plant didn't have as many leaves (probably 10% of the year before) and there is only 1 berry that I can spot on the plant now.

Red leaves in autumn

Can someone identify the plant for me please? And why it may have a lesser leaf + berry flush?

  • In the last picture, I can see what look like woolly aphid deposits (the whitish grey, lumpy bits) on the stems. I also strongly suspect this shrub is actually a badly pruned Cotoneaster horizontalis, as this is a much more common shrub in UK, and is prone to woolly aphid. If its not some trick of the light, scrub those deposits off with a stiff brush, keep a check this year for signs of woolly aphid - that might explain why your plant has reduced vigour. – Bamboo Jan 22 '15 at 10:20
  • Ah, thanks! I will check later today. I thought they were some kind of lichen. – Prav Jan 28 '15 at 17:50
  • Check in spring and early summer too - the aphids which cause it spread to young branches then, often causing soft, small swellings where they feed. The aphids themselves are coloured pinkish brown - you probably need to spray if you see them, but do it in late spring, not in summer, its more effective. Permethrin based products should work, but check the label to see what the pesticide product treats. – Bamboo Jan 29 '15 at 11:48
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Looks like Cotoneaster simonsii or the Himilayan cotoneaster. A member of the rose family it should have small white or pink flowers in the spring and the berries should be hard.

I have a similar one in my garden and they benefit from a good pruning to open up the structure. Good maintenance practices would include:

  • top dress with compost yearly
  • cut out older growth, up to one third a year
  • try to improve access to sun by cutting back other shrubs
  • ensure this is planted in a sunny location
  • in the spring check for aphids, scale and fireblight

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