The Q&A Archives: Half of a bush died..will it come back?

Question: I got a chokeberey last year and half it died this past winter. one side is very leafy -the other is gone. its only about 16 inches high. is it worth saving..will it come back if giving the time? also will wood mulch work as a blanket for the winter to protect the roots?

Answer: Your chokecherry should fill out if you first remove the obviously dead plant parts and then prune the rest back to encourage healthy new growth. Over a period of years I think it will round out and look like a full shrub rather than a lopsided shrub. Just prune it back a little each spring until it fills out. Wood mulch, shredded leaves or even pine boughs will help insulate the soil and the roots from cold winter temperatures. The key is not the weight (as in wood mulch) but the lofty protection that comes from loose material. You might even try making a cylinder out of chicken wire to go over the plant and then filling it with shredded leaves or compost to insulate the branches and crown of the plant. I think it will help enormously. Best wishes with your plants!

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