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What's causing plants to die?

10 years ago

I live in GIlbert, AZ and am experiencing sudden death of several plants: first it was an apricot tree, then a Texas Sage and now a Santa Rosa plum.

The three plants that died were all in the same area, within 5 feet of each other. They are on a gradual slope, but I built the soil up around the two fruit trees. They were all very healthy and just suddenly seemed to wilt and then die. The apricot tree has been in the ground for about 2 years, the sage for 3 and the plum for about one year.

I did see a little bit of white fungus looking material when I pulled the plum tree out, but I purchased it in one of those "compostable pots" which hadn't broken down, so there were small pockets between the soil and the pot ( I cut the bottom off it and scored it before planting). I also found quite a few small red/black (or brown) ants living in the root system of the plum tree. Haven't pulled up the sage or the apricot yet, but will pull the sage soon.

The apricot was a bareroot tree when planted.

There is also a grapevine not too far away, but it seems OK so far.

Any help or feedback appreciated as I am worried this could sweep across my yard. I can't determine if I have some sort of fungus like Texas root rot, or if the ants did the damage..

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