Hedge Repair And More

It is easy to see the dead holly in this hedge, but also notice the foliage color of the ones around it. They are signs of issues,too.

You can see this all over town, dead plants as a results of the drought. Have you ever wondered why a certain plant dies in a row and not the others? Sure, it was the result of the drought conditions, but other factors helped it become the one that died. In the picture above you have a clue of some of the problems this plant faced other than just dry conditions. Notice the discoloration of the the plants near it. More than likely these plant are suffering from a nutrient deficiency, and my first guess is iron. While the soil has plenty of iron in it, more than likely it is not the type available to the plant. The Hanna Center at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is an easy place to go and let them diagnose the problem. Also, I think it is important to have a soil test done on the soil around these plants, as that will be an important tool to know what to apply to correct the soil problems long term. I think another problem with this plant could be the initial planting. If the soil was red clay (which I know it was in this case), was the hole dug big enough and the planting done properly, or did this dead holly’s root ever even move out of the root ball into the surrounding soil? So, instead of cutting down the holly, pull it up and examine what is left of the root system and root ball. It can tell you a lot when you replace the plant about how the hole needs to be prepared. Oh, by the way, it is a great time to plant now.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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