The Q&A Archives: Sungold Thread-Branch Cypress

Question: I planted Monrovia Sungold Thread-Branch Cypress in my raised bed Garden last spring. Now in July-August the 3 Shrubs I grouped together are drying out and dying. I resently added fertilizer spikes about six weeks after planting, about 2' away from the plants. I water them every 3 days, or when dry. Can you offer some guidance?

Answer: When the foliage dries out it can indicate severe transplant stress or poor rooting (possibly due to poor planting technique such as planting too deeply or failing to cut encircling roots at planting time) or incorrect watering or possibly a pest or disease problem. With new plants in the heat of summer, it usually means incorrect watering. These particular plants need an evenly moist yet well drained soil. This means constantly damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and never bone dry. These shrubs also prefer a somewhat acidic, humusy, organic soil. Depending on what kind of soil you have in your raised bed you might be watering too often or too little. To know if you need to water dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still wet do not water yet. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; sometimes it is surprising. It is best to water deeply less often than to sprinkle lightly every day. Using an organic mulch over the root area can also help keep the soil cool and moist; apply it about three inches deep in a flat layer, do not allow it to contact the bark. These shrubs do not usually need fertilizing and for new shrubs especially, fertilizing can actually add ot transplant stress. Unfortunately it is difficult to tell exactly why plants are drying long distance. Since these are new plants I would suggest you consult with your professionally trained nursery staff (especially if they are under warranty) and/or with your local county extension to obtain a more specific diagnosis and then based on that, determine how to proceed. I hope it is nothing too serious.

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