Our Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii') is the star of our front garden. At sixteen years old, she's beyond mature width which Michael Dirr lists as 9-12' wide. This photo from 2011 doesn't do her 16+ foot width justice. Height-wise she's in Dirr's ballpark of 8-10' high. Normally at this season she just glows with double rows of white lacecap flowers.
Though this shrub is on the north side of the house surrounded by mature deciduous trees and backed by an old yew hedge, our winter seems to have done her in. Mariesii is listed as a Zone 5 shrub and I don't really remember any dieback in prior years. Mostly we prune any vertical growth since it is a plant that emphasizes the horizontal.
This spring we've only seen leaves on the lowest branches, along with vertical suckers coming from the base. I was pretty distraught about this situation initially. At first we thought we'd just stand back and wait to see what happens. Since it was pretty obvious what was happening — the top of the shrub was completely dead — Mark decided to prune it back to live wood. At this point we're talking about putting off any decision about taking it out completely until next spring.
At one time we had planned to put stone steps up into this garden from the driveway, but then filled the space with trees and shrubs. We abandoned that plan because we couldn't come to a mutual decision about what to cut down for the necessary pathway. At this point, I think we're becoming resigned to the possibility of losing this Viburnum and gaining a new entrance point to the garden.