The Q&A Archives: Northeast Draught

Question: With this years lack of rain, I have lots of dead/dying flowers & shrubs, some planted this year others have been in-ground for years. Is there any hope for a come-back next year (roses, coreopsis, ferns, holly, andromeda, dogwood bush, cardinal flower, butterfly bush etc. ?

Answer: I too live in the drought area and it is very difficult to watch. The come-back possibilities really depend on if and when there is rain and how the soil moisture levels rebuild as well as on the overall health of the plants to begin with, the soil type and microclimate where they are planted, and so on. Certainly shallower rooted plants such as most perennials and andromeda have less of a chance than deeper rooted plants such as roses. You may find that the more drought tolerant plants such as coreopsis, rugosa roses and butterfly bushes return from the root next year. Plants' survival mechanism is to go dormant, defoliate and even to "die back" to the ground to conserve moisture by reducing the loss through the foliage so in any case I would not be hasty in removing plants.

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