The Q&A Archives: Carlesi Viburnum

Question: We have a Carlesi Viburnum that is not at all healthy. Actually, more than half of it is dead (no leaves and the branches are brittle). Is there any hope to restore it or should we cut our losses, dig it out and replant another shrub?

If you suggest we replace it, can you give me the name of one or two shrubs that bloom pretty in the spring and fall and grow up to about 5 feet tall?

I appreciate your time.


Answer: Viburnum carlesii is usually a low maintenance and easy shrub, so I am not certain why it is not doing well for you. I would suggest trimming out the dead branches and then trimming as needed to restore a somewhat symmetrical look. Topdress with good quality compost and a complete granular or slow release fertilizer with an analysis of 10-10-10 or similar proportions per the label directions. Then mulch with several inches of organic mulch in a flay layer over the root zone (but not touching the stems.) Try to do the above in the coming week, before summer really hits. Then water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet or saturated. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down to where the deep roots are. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far it soaked in; sometimes it can be surprising. This type of general care should help rejuvenate the plant.

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