The Q&A Archives: Everything is Dying

Question: My mother-in-law had a beautiful rose garden, a Japanese maple tree, and several azalea bushes. All of these were thriving until recently. I have never seen anything like it. Everything is dying and the dead rose bushes are black! They are not all in the same bed. One theory is that record amounts of rain has caused flooding, and over-saturation of the soil, poison run-off, or soil problems. Help!

Answer: I think I would be more than just a little alarmed with the situation. Established plants should be able to cope with natural rainfall and even if they are stressed their root systems should be strong enough that most plants will recover. When all the plants are affected, it points towards some kind of pollution of the water or soil. If your county has a soil or water conservation district, you might want to contact them. Just for comparison, check the neighboring landscapes to see if theirs are as affected as yours. You might even want to have your soil tested to see if there are any concentrations of any specific minerals. Hope you can solve the mystery!

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