Problem: Anthracnose and Twig Blight
This plant disease is caused by a fungus (Glomerella cingulata) that infects many ornamentals and fruit trees in the garden. It is most severe in plants weakened by such factors as drought, nutrient deficiency, and low temperatures. The fungus spends the winter on infected twigs and stems on the plant. During warm, humid weather, spores are blown and splashed onto healthy stems. The spores enter the tissue, and the fungus grows through the wood in all directions. The cells collapse and a sunken area (canker) develops. The canker cuts off the flow of water and nutrients to the branch, causing the leaves to turn brown and dry. If the canker encircles the wood completely, the stem beyond it dies.
Prune twigs and stems well below the infected area. Spray with a fungicide labeled for these diseases, following label directions.