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Help needed - Losing shrubs

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Question from Lesley Wyrill


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I have a number of problems with shrubs at the moment.
I have a mock orange which is around 15 years old and is usually stunning in the late spring early summer full of scented flower, but this year it was 80% deadwood. I pruned some of this back, but being aware that it flowers the following year on new growth, waited to see what it would do over the summer - but now it looks worse! Any new growth that appeared has now died back as well. Last summer it was around 12 feet high and 5ft wide but it now consists of a few dry sticks. Will it recover ? what can I do ?

This shrub is around 30 years old and is very large. I prune it regularly so it creates a canopy and shade for other plants and it regularly produces new growth from the base of the plant, but in a very short space of time this this new growth is affected also.For some time now it is being eaten by something and now virtually every leaf has brown specs and holes. I once noticed a number of small brown insects on some leaves so I sprayed the area with a crawling insect repellent but the damage has escalated since then. I am worried I will lose this plant completely. Can you help me ?

I have numerous pot grown hydrangeas which are usually full of flower, but this summer I did not get one flower on any of them and growth is very spindly. Are they worth pruning and hoping for better results next year, or should I throw them away and start again.

I know there are some fantastic gardeners amongst you so hope one of you can offer some advice to this very 'green' ie. 'novice' gardiner.

  • Views: 891
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Tue. 11th September 2007 10:02

2 out of 3

Reply from Andrew Radgick

After two dry winters (not the last one!) and a hot dry summer, it is possible your mock orange is slowly dying. I lost an established forsythia due to this. The only hope is heavy feeding next spring and make sure it doesn't go short of moisture next year.

If the hydrangeas are in pots, they may be starved.
Either move to them bigger pots or during the winter, knock them out of the pots, tease away some of the old compost and replace with fresh.
Foliar feeding next year may kickstart them as well.

  • Posted: Wed. 12th September 2007 21:45