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Author: Burkholder PHC

Burkholder Introduces New Plant Health Care Department

Malvern, PA – April 12, 2021 – Burkholder Brothers announces the opening of a new plant health care department called Burkholder PHC. This new department will work hand in hand with the Burkholder Landscape design, build and maintenance teams that have been servicing the Delaware valley for the past 30 years. New plant health care services will include all aspects of pest management, soil care, biological control, cultural management, deer browse deterrents, and growth regulation.

“Plant health care is a complex science. We have developed program options, field personnel and equipment to deliver science based, state of the art programs to manage the problems caused by challenging weather patterns and new invasive insects and diseases,” said owner, Barry Burkholder.

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Starker Wright, the company’s new Plant Health Care Manager noted that “the environmental conditions of this year have made soil disease and pests a greater threat than usual.”

He also mentioned the cicada emergence that will occur in June for the first time in 17 years, warning, “this emergence alone is one of the most profound threats to landscape trees that any of us will experience.”

The company is currently offering free consultations. The offer encourages Main Line residents to learn about their services while receiving an accurate diagnosis of their landscape plant health issues and exploring the programs that will protect families and pets from insects that bite, sting and can spread illness.

Starker Wright, Burkholder Plant Health Care Manager | Burkholder PHC

About Burkholder PHC

Burkholder PHC is a new branch of Burkholder Brothers Landscaping. The company emphasizes proper diagnosis and precise treatment with state-of-the-art, research-backed methods and equipment. The specialists are educated, trained, experienced, and certified to manage all insect and disease pests, soil chemistry, and plant physiological problems to deliver genuine, lasting results. Burkholder PHC has the resources necessary to deliver the attention to detail and professional care that every resident’s landscape deserves.

About Burkholder Brothers Inc.

Burkholder Brothers has been in business for 25 years and provides an “all inclusive” landscape business for Main Line Philadelphia residents. The company does all aspects of landscaping; from designing outdoor living areas, hardscapes and softscapes; to installing the various pieces of the design, such as patios, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor lighting; to finally maintaining the landscapes with comprehensive maintenance programs.

For more information regarding the new plant health care programs or Burkholder Landscape’s other services, call (610) 558-2678 or visit the Burkholder website: www.BurkholderLandscape.com.

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Types of Plant Pests in PA

Many homeowners in Pennsylvania have spent a lot of time and money ensuring their landscapes are pristine and healthy. Sometimes, however, certain pests can disrupt or damage those landscapes. Pests can harm both the appearance and health of trees, flowers, shrubs, and any other plant life on properties. Here are some of the various types of plant pests in PA.

2 Major Invasive Species in PA

Two particular plant pests in PA have caused significant damage to residents’ landscapes: the spotted lanternfly and the emerald ash borer. Both of these insects are invasive species originating in Asia. These pests have rapidly spread along the east coast of the United States and are significant threats to Pennsylvania’s plant life.

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Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is a plant hopping species first discovered in the U.S. in 2014 that has since spread to many eastern states. These pests have light gray outer wings, black and red inner wings, and black bodies. Spotted lanternflies feed on and damage primarily the ailanthus or “tree of heaven” by sucking the sap from stems, leaves, or trunks and excreting a sugar-rich sticky liquid called “honeydew.” By sucking the fluid from a tree, spotted lanternflies deprive them of nutrients, which can hinder growth and eventually lead to death.

Emerald Ash Borer

Like spotted lanternflies, the emerald ash borer is another invasive species from Asia that has rapidly become one of the major plant pests in PA. This wood-boring beetle has a metallic green body. The beetles feed on ash trees and lay larvae that burrow underneath the bark of ash trees. The larvae feed on the conductive tissue (phloem) inside to cut off nutrients to the tree. Once the larvae become adults, they bore back through the bark and spread to other ash trees.

Spotted lanternflies on tree | plant pests in PA | Burkholder Brothers
Close-up of diseased leaf | plant pests in PA | Burkholder Brothers

Other Plant Pests in PA

Spotted lanternflies and emerald ash borers are 2 of the most significant plant pests in PA due to how quickly both species have spread and caused damage throughout the region. Homeowners should be aware of other pests that can cause issues for their plants and landscaping.

Tree Pests

These pests pose a particular threat to trees in Pennsylvania.

  • Gypsy moths feed primarily on oak leaves but can eat other species of tree leaves, defoliating and hurting trees’ health and appearance.
  • Hemlock woolly adelgid threatens Pennsylvania’s state tree, the eastern hemlock, by sucking sap from the tree, similar to damage by spotted lanternfly.
  • The Asian Longhorned Beetle damages maple, alder, birch, or elm trees, in a manner similar to the way emerald ash borer damages ash trees.

Garden Pests

Other pests target flowers and plants within a landscape, making your gardens or flower beds look unhealthy.

  • Aphids are tiny green insects that feed on leaves and flowers, taking away essential nutrients from plants and making leaves curl and yellow.
  • Magnolia scale feeds on magnolia plants, reducing foliage and flower production, causing twig and branch dieback, and attracting other pests through honeydew.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Landscaping Services

If you want to keep your landscape safe from plant pests in PA, contact Burkholder Brothers. Burkholder Brothers provides plant health care services and has been maintaining and designing fine landscapes throughout the Main Line area for decades. Our team of experienced and qualified landscape and plant health care professionals can control pests in your landscape and maintain the health and beauty of your property. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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Soil Management

Plants have many needs to maintain their health and appearance: water, oxygen, nutrients, and a physical medium for their seeds to germinate and grow their roots. All of these items are, in part, provided by soil, making soil health tied to plant health. To ensure that your soil is healthy and supplies nutrients for your plants, you may need soil management: a collection of services and practices that preserve and improve your soil condition. Here is some information about what managing soil entails and how landscape professionals maintain soil health through various methods.

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What Is Soil Management?

Soil management is applying various processes and practices to promote and maintain soil health and ensure plant health. Farmers and those in the agricultural industry manage soil to maintain crop health. Homeowners can also take advantage of this service to keep their properties pristine and their landscapes healthy and valuable. Managing soil is ultimately about creating and maintaining the conditions that meet plants’ essential needs, and is an area of plant health care (PHC).

Plant nutrients and organic matter are especially crucial factors for soil and are often a significant element of soil management practices. Plants need certain nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to stay healthy. Organic matter improves the soil’s capacity to hold water, helps keep the soil aerated so roots can grow, promotes biological activity, and helps fight pests. Knowing how rocky the soil is or the soil’s pH balance, is also crucial to determining how to properly care for the soil and the plants in a landscape.

Landscape with trees nearby | soil management | Burkholder Brothers

What Does Soil Management Involve?

As mentioned above, managing soil involves various practices that culminate in healthier soil for homeowners. Below is an overview of the general process of managing and promoting soil health.

Flower bed with sprinkler irrigation system running | soil management | Burkholder Brothers

Soil Testing

The first step involved in soil management is to test the soil and analyze its current condition. Soil testing provides information such as nutrient levels and organic matter. A landscape professional needs to develop and tailor plans to a particular area to most effectively address the soil’s needs. Landscape professionals test the soil to figure out what those needs are. The test results influence the overall plan and some of the specific strategies a landscape professional will use.

Adding Plant Nutrients & Organic Matter

Nutrients and organic matter are vital to the soil, and depending on the test results of a property, adding these two elements is a significant aspect of soil management. Landscape professionals have many options when adding nutrients or organic matter to the soil. Fertilizers and lime are used to supplement plant needs. Lime contains magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate, which can increase pH and decrease soil acidity. Composting is an excellent way of adding organic matter to the soil.

Other soil management techniques and practices include the following:

  • Mulching around trees or flowers
  • Irrigating
  • Aerating
  • Removing weeds

Soil is one of the most critical factors for your plants’ health, and a plant health care professional will manage your soil to keep your property beautiful.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Soil Management & Other Landscape Services

Your landscape’s health and value are dependent on your soil, and Burkholder Brothers can care for and manage this aspect of your landscape. Burkholder Brothers has years of experience designing, building, and maintaining fine landscapes in the Main Line area. In addition to plant health care and soil management, we offer other services such as turf care, irrigation, landscape design, and more. Our passionate team of landscape professionals will bring pristine beauty to your landscape, making your dream landscape a reality. For more information, contact us today.

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What Is Plant Health Care (PHC)?

Plants can add a great deal of value and beauty to a landscape if they are healthy. While plants have the same basic needs, one plant’s health risks may be entirely different from another, even those on the same property. So what is Plant Health Care? Plant health care is the answer to the complexities and intricacies of keeping various kinds of plant life in the same landscape healthy. Through careful consideration of each plant’s needs and preventive measures, plants can remain healthy and make your landscape vibrant and attractive.

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What Is Plant Health Care, And What Is The Goal?

Plant health care is a comprehensive and proactive holistic approach to maintaining the health and vitality all of the plants on a person’s property. Plants reside close to each other on a lawn, so actions that affect one plant (such as a tree) could affect others (such as a nearby shrub or flower bed). Landscape professionals use this type of plan as the basis of their lawn care and landscaping services, carefully considering the complexity of the plant life, and create a holistic program that ensures all of the plants will grow and prosper.

The primary goal of health care programs is to foster and maintain the proper environment for all plants on a property: trees and shrubs to flowers and grasses. Preventive care is another core goal, as preventing health issues from occurring is more effective than resolving ones that appear or spring up. Plants are susceptible to many environmental conditions, such as weather or pests and diseases. Fixing these issues is essential, but plant health care takes an extra step and proactively creates the environment and conditions that prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

Flower bed with stone walls along walkway | plant health care | Burkholder Brothers
Trees, shrubs, and plants in backyard with gazebo and pond | plant health care | Burkholder Brothers

What Are The Benefits of Plant Health Care?

One of the benefits of plant health care is that your landscape stays beautiful and attractive. To maintain their beauty, plants need to be healthy, and they need a comprehensive plan that supports and promotes growth. The holistic and proactive approach also means that landscape professionals can resolve any issues that affect your plants’ health and beauty much sooner, before any long-term damage.

In addition to a more beautiful and attractive landscape, a plan that ensures your plants are healthy can help make your property more valuable. For example, large, mature trees can add significant value to a property, but the trees need to be healthy and safe to provide that value. A holistic, thorough care plan can keep trees beautiful and healthy throughout their entire life cycles, so your trees can continue to be a good investment, both financially and aesthetically.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for 2021 Landscape Design Trends For Your Home

Now you have the answer to “What is plant health care?” Ready for a plan for your landscape to keep your plants healthy and vibrant? Contact Burkholder Brothers for a consultation. Our landscaping team has decades of experience designing and building elegant, refined landscapes for Main Line residents. We are up to date with the latest knowledge and best practices on landscape health and beauty. The passionate and experienced specialists at Burkholder will work with you to create your dream landscape. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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Pieris/Andromeda


Pieris, commonly known as andromedas or fetterbushes, are ornamental shrubs that are attractive all year round. It is native in mountainous regions of Eastern and Southern Asia and Eastern North American. The perennial shrub requires minimal maintenance. However, it is best planted in acid soil.

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  • Chewed Leaves

    Pieris chewed leaves are often caused by:

    • Black Vine Weevil

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  • Dieback/Flagging

    Another common affliction against Andromedas is Canker disease fungi, leading to dieback of the shrub’s branches and stems. Canker disease fungi occur most often following periods of low temperatures or drought.

    Pieris dieback/flagging is often caused by:

    • Phytophthora Rot

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  • Leaf Curling/Cupping

    Pieris leaf curling/cupping is often caused by :

    • Phytophthora Rot

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  • Moldy Leaves

    Pieris moldy leaves are often caused by:

    • Cottony Azalea Scale

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  • Wilting

    Andromeda’s wilting is commonly caused by Phytophthora root rot. This condition is highly destructive and causes the roots of plants to become brittle and appear reddish-brown. The root rot itself may be caused by overwatered soil.

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  • Yellowing/Browning

    Another common disease Andromeda shrubs may suffer is chlorosis. Yellowing and browning are most often caused by Phytophthora rot or Black root rot. Compacted roots may cause yellowing and discoloration of the leaves. A lack of soil drainage, nutrient deficiency, and in other cases, lace bugs and mites can also cause yellowing.

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Boxwood

Boxwoods are slow-growing, evergreen shrubs that are planted to create a modern and elegant landscape design. In addition, boxwoods’ perennial nature makes them the ideal ornamental plant to use for formal hedges and entryways. Around 70 species of boxwood shrub are primarily derived from the two common boxwoods in cultivation: the common boxwood and littleleaf.

Need Help?

  • Dieback/Flagging

    Boxwood dieback/flagging is often caused by:

    • Volutella Blight
    • Structural Damage
    • Salt Damage
    • Pet Damage

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  • Defoliation

    Boxwood Blight may cause brown blotches and dark leaf spots on your boxwood shrub. It is a disease caused by spores from the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata. Aside from dark leaf spots, other symptoms of Boxwood blight may show white sporulation found on the undersides of the infected leaves and narrow black streaks that may develop on green stems.

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  • Dead Leaf Spots

    The boxwood leaf miner is a severe pest that causes prominent yellow blisters on the boxwood leaf. These yellowish “blisters” are indicative of larvae feeding. When infected leaves are ripped open, they will show tiny yellowish maggots.

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  • Leaf Curling/Cupping

    Boxwood leaf curling/cupping is often caused by:

    • Psyllid

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  • Moldy Leaves

    Boxwood moldy leaves are often caused by:

    • Powdery Mildew

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  • Wilting

    Wilting in boxwood shrubs can be caused by structural damage or necrosis. Necrosis is the death of cells or tissues. Necrosis is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of another disease of general stress. One disease that necrosis can signify is Phytophthora, a fungal disease that arises from the soil.

    Overwatering, or poor soil drainage, can also cause wilting in boxwood, leading to root rot.

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  • Yellowing/Browning

    Pennsylvania can experience extreme freezing during the winter, and the weather may take a considerable toll on your boxwood. In addition, damage caused by winter damage (freezing soil, winter burn) will be visible if leaves start turning yellow during spring.

    Yellowing and curling leaves can indicate a severe root rot problem. Treating root rot is all about improving soil drainage.

    Boxwood yellowing/browning is often caused by:

    • Pet Damage
    • Volutella Blight
    • Structural Damage
    • Salt Damage
    • Phytophthora Rot

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Redbud


Native to North America and Canada, Redbuds are attractive flowering trees and are among the first native tree species to bloom in spring. Redbud trees grow 20-30 feet tall and 25-35 feet wide, making them suitable for small landscapes.

Need Help?

  • Chewed Leaves

    Chewed leaves on redbud trees are often caused by:

    • Leafcutter Bees

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  • Dead Leaf Spots

    Redbud dead leaf spots are caused by:

    • Leaf Spot Diseases
    • Redbud Leafroller

    Small brown or black spots found on top of the leaves are brought about by leaf spot fungus. When fungal spores find warm, wet plant surfaces to cling to, they reproduce and spread throughout the surface, often manifested in large, circular leaf spots.

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  • Decay/Cankers/Galls

    Canker is a highly destructive disease. It is first seen as the leaves wilt and turn brown.

    The canker is caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria  and spreads throughout the tree via splashing rain and winds. The fungus then enters the tree through wounds or dying branches, circulating within the vascular system and inhibiting the redbud’s ability to transport nutrients and water.

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  • Defoliation

    Redbud defoliation is often caused by:

    • Tent Caterpillar

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  • Dieback/Flagging

    When your redbud leaves show signs of dieback or flagging, it may be indicative of canker caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria. These cankers are often seen on branches and twigs.

    The dieback may also result from Phytophthora rot or Verticillium wilt, a fungal disease that lives in the soil and infests plants via roots, spreading up through the vascular system.

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  • Leaf Curling/Cupping

    Redbud leaf curling/cupping is often caused by:

    • Redbud Leafroller

    If you see your redbud trees leaves have yellow spots or the leaves have started wilting and curling. You may suspect that the tree is infested with spider mites. Adult spider mites are reddish-brown or pale in color, oval-shaped, and tiny (1/50 inch long). These insects feed by piercing leaf tissue and sucking up plant fluids, which causes the leaves to turn yellow, curl, dry up, and drop off.

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  • Moldy Leaves

    Moldy leaves on redbud are often caused by:

    • Lecanium Scale

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  • Sawdust/Holes

    Redbud sawdust/holes are often caused by:

    • Borers (General)

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  • Wilting

    Redbud wilting is often caused by:

    • Phytophthora Rot
    • Verticillium Wilt

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  • Yellowing/Browning

    Redbud yellowing/browning is often caused by:

    • Redbud Leafroller
    • Mites
    • Verticillium Wilt

    Yellowing and browning of leaves are the first signs of Verticillium Wilt. As the fungus progresses to block the vascular system, the browning of leaves becomes widespread, and the leaves will eventually drop off if the disease is left untreated.

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Japanese Maple


Japanese maple trees tend to perform and adapt well in Pennsylvania’s climate. These trees are easily maintained and cared for and enhance your landscaping with their beautiful, striking appearance. These trees offer several varieties of leaf shades. Colors may range from cream, pink, dark purple, reddish-purple, and vibrant shades of red.

Need Help?

  • Dead Leaf Spots

    Japanese maple dead leaf spots are often caused by:

    • Summer Scorch

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  • Decay/Cankers/Galls

    Japanese maple decay/cankers/galls are often caused by:

    • Sun/Winter Scald

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  • Defoliation

    Japanese maple defoliation is often caused by:

    • Bagworms

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  • Dieback/Flagging

    Japanese maple dieback/flagging is often caused by:

    • Sun/Winter Scald
    • Japanese Scale
    • Phytophthora Rot

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  • Moldy Leaves

    Moldy leaves on Japanese Maple are often caused by:

    • Aphids

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  • Sawdust/Holes

    Japanese maple sawdust/holes are often caused by:

    • Ambrosia Beetle
    • Borers (General)

    Bark holes and sawdust on a Japanese maple tree’s footing are likely indicative of borer infestation. Borers will drill into the tree and tunnel beneath the bark, feeding on the inside of the tree and eventually leaving tiny holes with sawdust coming out once the insects mature.

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  • Wilting

    Japanese maple wilting is often caused by:

    • Japanese Scale

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  • Yellowing/Browning

    Japanese maple yellowing/browning is often caused by:

    • Bagworm
    • Japanese Scale
    • Phytophthora Rot

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Holly

Holly bushes are abundant across the country. They add interest and a splash of color during winter and act as good green backdrops in the summer months. Only the female plant American Holly can produce the berries. Make sure to plant a male variety nearby to grow berries.

Need Help?

  • Chewed Leaves

    In holly bushes, chewed leaves are often caused by:

    • Deer Browsing

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  • Dead Leaf Spots

    Holly dead leaf spots are often caused by:

    • Tar Spot
    • Spine Spot

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  • Defoliation

    Leaf defoliation is commonly seen during early spring on Holly plants that suffered from freezing injuries brought about by winter. The frozen ground and soil can cause Holly plants to defoliate to try and preserve water, and the dry winds and bright sun reflecting off the snow can cause leaf scorch, too. Black root rot is a common cause of leaf defoliation in holly plants.

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  • Dieback/Flagging

    Holly dieback/flagging is often caused by:

    • Phytophthora Rot
    • Black Root Rot

    The Thielaviopsis basicola is a type of fungus that can cause black root rot and branch dieback on Holly plants.

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  • Moldy Leaves

    Moldy leaves on holly shrubs are often caused by:

    • Camellia Scale
    • Holly Wax Scale

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  • Sawdust/Holes

    Holly sawdust/holes are often caused by:

    • Sapsucker (Bird)

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  • Wilting

    Holly wilting is often caused by:

    • Rodent Damage

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  • Yellowing/Browning

    Yellowing can be indicative of black root rot brought about by the Thielaviopsis basicola fungi or Phytophthora rot.

    Yellowing Holly leaves can be indicative of iron deficiency. If a leaf does not get enough iron, it cannot produce chlorophyll to make the leaves green. Iron deficiency on the shrub may be caused by overwatering or poor soil drainage. 

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