The Q&A Archives: Plants Near Street Die

Question: Last spring I planted a large area of vinca in a sunny area on the front of my property. There is no sidewalk so the planting went right up to the street. This spring, while the plantings nearer the house are growing well, those next to the street look really bad. Last year's growth is nothing but sticks. The area is in full sun. Is this some type of disease?

Answer: Because of the plants' proximity to the street, I suspect that road salt has harmed your vinca. Other factors, such as heat reflecting from the pavement and air pollution, could also be contributing to the problem. You might try replacing the vinca with creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis), which has demonstrated some tolerance to salt and is evergreen as well as very low growing. This plant will also tolerate the hot and sunny growing conditions a bit better than vinca could.

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