The Q&A Archives: dying shrubs?

Question: I recenty wrote you concerning my shrubs,2 varigated dwarf weigela and 2 goldmound spirea. how they were wilted and didnt look very lively. I was told to let them adjust to being planted and they would perk up. well I planted them on a nice warm day. added quick start fertilizer, all the stuff I was supposed to do. well 2 days later it snowed and got pretty cold. now they went from wilted,to dried and crispy. are they just in shock from the transplant to the ground and the sudden cold snap? or are they dead and gone? I dont know how long to keep my hopes up. I figure they are in shock but I have no way of knowing. any advice would be greatly appreciated. josie

Answer: What a sad chain of events for your plants! I agree with you that the original wilting was probably due to transplant shock. Generally shrubs will perk up once they acclimate to their new homes. But, a late snowstorm can cause dieback of even a healthy shrub. I still wouldn't give up on the plants - not just yet. You can prune away the obviously dead plant parts. Cut the stems and branches back until you find live material (green tissue in the center of the stem). New growth will begin behind the pruning cuts you make. If you find no green tissue in the branches and stems, then I would conceed that the plants are dead and should be replaced.

Let's hope they're still alive!

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