One of my readers wrote to say that her Black Lace (the plant I’m referring to is a plant known as sambucus nigra Black Lace, or Black Lace Elderberry, by the way. It’s so well known by now that most of us just call it “Black Lace”) was wilting as well. She had taken pieces of it to her garden center and they had found worms. She had destroyed her plants.
I was out of town when I read that comment but when I returned home, I went right down to my garden, started cutting up the wilting portions of my Black Lace, and–sure enough–I could see evidence of the fact that borers had gotten into the stems and caused the wilt. Ah hah! Mystery solved!
So I wrote to the lovely folks at Proven Winners and asked them about this. I asked them if they were aware that borers were an issue with this plant and if so, how to treat it.
The response was very quick, very polite and very helpful. They said that in general, borers can be an issues with all elderberries, although Black Lace is less susceptible than most. To solve for this problem, it is best to prune out all affected stems, and especially after an incident with borers, to give the plant a good hard pruning.
So I was ruthless in my pruning with the plants, as was suggested in my email correspondence. I took out my oldest stalk on both the plants, and gave them both a hard cutback. We shall see how this works. This plant has great wildlife value for me (as well as being particularly attractive) and I’m not willing to lose it to some pesky borers!