I had a beautiful, thick, well established patch of pachysandra in my yard that is now decimated. To put it mildly, I don't have a green thumb and since I have a full time job and three young kids I also tend to neglect my yard/plants. I do, however, have enough sense to notice if something isn't quite right, and I will admit that I noticed the pachysandra was a little leggy last summer/fall. By that I mean there were several plants that "stuck their necks out" above the rest. They were lighter green/yellowish than the rest. I didn't make much of it.

Anyway, this spring after the snow melted the pachysandra is 95% gone. As in, not there AT ALL. The few stragglers left are sickly looking-the leaves have brown, shriveled, dry tips and there are only a few of those at the very top of the plant. The stems are long and bare. We didn't have a worse winter this year than last. We did have a late snow storm (April) for our region (Southeast New England) but the pachysandra was like this before that.

From the research I've done I think it might have been blight. How can I tell since I don't have many plants and of the survivors there is so little foliage to examine? I'm thinking it doesn't matter; I am probably going to have to start over with new pachysandra plants or perhaps some other ground cover. In either scenario, is there something I should do to prepare the area (in case it was a fungus or some other pathogen?)


  • Pictures are never wrong here - including a close-up of the leaves, perhaps? Welcome at Gardening SE!
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 6:25
  • Ok, I uploaded some photos. The first two are of the "survivors" the second two of some of the stems left leafless. I'm totally stumped and aggravated that a 8'x10' carpet of lush groundcover could simply vanish. Do aliens abduct plants? 😉 if so ET owes me.
    – Jax
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 16:10
  • 1
    I'd suspect rodents (or hoofed rodents, a.k.a. Bambi) before E.T.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 3:55
  • Rodents? Such as voles? How about grubs? Would grubs kill pachysandra? I know they have ruined our lawn. In fact, we didn't turn the sprinkler system on for the lawn last summer in an attempt to combat the grubs since grub killer wasn't doing it. I know it isn't deer...we've never seen one once in 6 yrs. my hostas would b no more if deer were around.
    – Jax
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 11:03
  • It grew very well for me on the north side of the house ; little sun and extra snow. Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


The yellowing of the leaves say to me- poor soil and too much exposure to wind and sun, pachy's like sheltered places under trees and a little bit dry over the winter- the soil doesn't have to be good, but to be fair its not a very demanding plant- thrives on neglect. not a plant that can take a lot of traffic. Compacted soil doesn't do any plant any good at all, neither does a very wet during the winter or very dry during the summer one either. Improve the soil, folk it over feed it with some compost and dig it over and replant the pachy's in a sheltered spot and leave alone- water every day if planted during a hot spell in summer and avoid walking on it or knocking it a lot.If it dies again then it may be something in the soil but your pictures don't shout out to me that the problem at all.

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