The Q&A Archives: Spirea Dying

Question: We planted a princess spirea in April, and within one month, half of the branches appeared dead. On a friend's advice (perhaps bad) I trimmed the dead branches and now the spirea is half bare. Is there hope? What should I do?

Answer: It is always okay to trim off truly dead branches. (The die back might have been an attempt to adjust to its water intake while establishing new roots or may have been the result of accidental damage.) Princess spireas are very resilient plants and it should grow back quickly assuming the plant is healthy. In fact, they seem to do best with a bit of a trim early each spring and possibly again immediately after bloom to help them maintain a tidy shape. The best thing you can do is be sure it is receiving adequate water while it is becoming established. Give the plant a good deep soaking about every five days along with a few inches of organic mulch to help conserve moisture and keep down weeds. Good luck with your shrub!

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