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I purchased a few Rudy Haag burning bushes here. They arrived well and healthy-looking. I took care of them as instructed and for the first 3-4 weeks they did really well but after that they started deteriorating. New leaves would appear but quickly shrivel up and die. Leaves and branches would just get dry and die (even with regular watering).

When I contacted the farm I purchase these from, the horticulturist told me he didn't know what was happening and recommended me to move mulch away from the bushes and use less water. Well that didn't help.

I put two of them in plastic pots and brought them inside. One looks already dead and one still has some life. I did notice some spider mites under a leaf of the semi-healthy one (I think they're spider mites), but not too bad. I removed them and bought an organic herbicide at Lowe's that claims to kill over 100 common plant insects.

Question #1 - What can I do to save these plants if not too late?

This morning I noticed some very tiny objects doing parabolic jumps on the dirt. I have no idea what these are. Tried using a magnifying glass and still too small to tell.

Question #2 - What are those? If you look closely, you'll see what I mean in the video below. At first, I thought they were tiny specs falling from the bush, but no, they're tiny things hopping around the bush. I only see them in the pot with the semi-healthy bush, not the other one.

Please see images and video here: img1, img2, video1

  • Some additional information on your climate might be useful. Unfortunately, without a close up picture of the bugs it would be very hard to id them. I am going to assume its the two spotted spider mite. Use If two spotted spider mites are present, spray foliage with a biorational product (e.g. horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, abamectin, bifenazate or spinosad) or a specific miticide (e.g. bifenthrin, hexythiazox, malathion, or permethrin) when mites first appear. Repeat as often as monitoring shows mites and at an interval permitted by the product label. – Rob Aug 14 '18 at 16:06
  • Check the stems all over - you're looking for hard, small, lumpy objects attached to the stem. Also check any remaining leaves for signs of oyster shaped objects - you might need a magnifying glass. – Bamboo Aug 14 '18 at 21:24
  • Too much water and these shrub starts should be out of doors. Were they indoors when you purchased them? You've got aphids for sure, not a big big deal. Your plants are very stressed and that makes them far more susceptible to disease, insects. Do not water these pots until the pots feel light er. You'll be able to tell. You are watering far too much with too little photosynthetic growth and thus too little of a root system. Where were these plants when you purchased them, indoors or out of doors. I would go ask these guys where your plants were raised and what was used for fertilizer. – stormy Aug 15 '18 at 1:18
  • @stormy: This is interesting because the instructions that came with the plants said to keep the soil saturated with water. Also, most likely they were were indoors when I purchased them because the instructions also mentioned moving them outside when they developed leaves and there was no danger of frost. So I followed those instructions. Should I put the pots outside now or keep them inside? By these are in USDA zone 6b. – Guest Aug 15 '18 at 15:22
  • Burning Bush is a common name. When I hear Burning Bush I instantly imagine Euonymus alatus. Whatever plant you want to take out of doors into the sun needs diligent acclimatization. If you have a covered porch you can take them outside, now. If not you have to start acclimating; 10 minutes for 3 days, 20 minutes for 3 days, 30 minutes for 3 days...etc. – stormy Aug 16 '18 at 1:38

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