The Q&A Archives: Sweet Broom dying

Question: We were sold 17 sweet broom bushes at Gheko Nursery in Jacksonville, Florida, for the front beds of our home. We selected them because we were told they were hearty, and once established required little maintenance, and that they would work well on an irrigation system in our front beds. We followed the precise directions for planting and watering that they gave us-- cow manure and peet moss mixed into soil at planting, water daily for first month. One by one the shrubs are dying. They initially begin to look poorly one day and are completely dead in a day or two. We asked the nursery about it, but they said there is no guarantee with them. We invested $200 in the shrubs, and are quite disappointed in a) the lack of heartiness b) the nursery for apparenting selling us something that is not appropriate for this environment c) the fact that they said they will not/ or Monrovia will not stand by their product. Can you explain what may be happening to our plants, and if there is anyway to salvage the ones that haven't died so far? We've already lost five of them!

Answer: Trish,

Sorry to hear about your plant problems. When a shrub dies so suddenly it is almost always due to a root problem. The most common problem is soggy soil conditions or poor drainage. When soil stay very wet the roots may be deprived of oxygen and root rots have a easier time entering the roots to cause dieback and possibly death of the plant. Dry soil conditions on a new plant can also be deadly but your description seems to eliminate this. One other possibility is that damage from a weed and feed fertilizer used nearby may have affected the plants. This is most common when such a product is overapplied and then a rainy spell washes it to the plants or into the root zone. You did not mention the amount of sunlight, but sweet broom likes a lot of sun and preferably primary morning sun although afternoon is fine too. I suggest you dig down a few inches around the plants to feel the soil to determine how much and how often to water. If you can maintain even moisture during this warm summer period the plants will have their best chance of recovering and lossses can be kept at a minimum of what has already died.

I hope this helps. Thanks for the question. Please stop in again anytime we can help with plant related questions.

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