The Q&A Archives: Topheavy Inkberry

Question: My inkberry bush, planted last year, has put out a foot of growth this year. Rain has bent it over, permanently, it seems. Would it be better to prune it back or stake it up and hope for the best ?

Answer: Generally inkberry is self-supporting and a rather sturdy plant, so I am concerned about the cause for the weak stems. You could stake it gently by setting stakes around the perimeter and then crossing a twine or something soft and stretchy like panty hose throught the center of the shrub from stake to stake and around the perimeter. This will allow for some movement and yet support some of the weight. You could also trim it back, although this will change the growth habit of the plants. This plant is usually a slow grower, so a foot of growth in one year seems like quite a bit and as it happens, one possible cause for this type of weakness is overfertilizing; another possible reason for it is that some inkberry varieties are naturally a bit floppy, especially as they get older.

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