The Q&A Archives: shamel ash

Question: how do I make my shamel ash grow and leaves not brown and curl up and die. I've had to replace 2 shamel ashes within weeks of planting.

Answer: Shamel ash is perfectly adapted to low desert gardening but they do require a lot of water so I'm wondering if yours is showing drought stress? I'm sure you water it regularly, but in the summer heat it may need more than you are providing. On the flip side, if your soil holds too much water, the roots can suffocate. So the key is to water deeply but infrequently so that the roots get adequate water but the soil dries out a bit between waterings. The only way you'll know about the soil moisture is to probe it with a stick or metal rod. If the soil is moist you'll be able to push the probe into the ground; when you hit a dry spot, the probe will be difficult to push down. Your goal is to water as deep as the roots (usually 2'). Water as usual, wait a week and then push the probe into the ground. This should give you some indication of whether or not you are watering deeply enough. Wish I had more suggestions!

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