Ask a Question forum: Should i dig it up?

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Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
Jul 13, 2015 3:55 PM CST
Hi all. Back in May i planted a new shrub in front of my garage. Its called Amber Jubilee (Physocarpus opulifolius) 'Jefam'. Its in the nine bark family if this helps. Its growing good and looks good as long as it rains. If it goes 2 or 3 days w/o rain the very top growth of each branch starts to wilt.
And here is the kicker. For the month of June we set a new record here for rainfall. Thus far in July it has rained almost every other day. The area is well drained as its near the driveway which slopes to the street. The soil is good i just removed a 7 foot Arborvitae from that spot.
Should i dig it up and disturb the rootball some more? Remember it has grown it just like to wilt unless you water it every other day. Help or suggestions appreciated.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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William
Jul 13, 2015 4:34 PM CST
Hello Kevin Welcome!

Obviously I'm nowhere near you, so is perhaps not the best suited to advice you, but this is a common shrub here as well. What I think is happening here is that the soil has been so wet that the newly planted shrub hasn't had time to develop a good root system yet. Wet soil reduces root growth, so there is not a good balance between foliage and roots yet. This will correct in time. A little wilting isn't the end of the world and as long as this is not too bad and the plant recover during night, it will do no harm. As long as the soil is moist, I'd resist watering it as too much water will prevent it from growing a deep, extensive root system. Also, be careful with too much fertilizer as this also prevents a good root growth.

Of course if you have very hot and sunny weather you could try to shade the plant a bit. As the plant is otherwise healthy, I would absolutely not dig it during active growth.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 13, 2015 4:37 PM CST
Is it getting full sun? When the sun does come out around here, it's hot. Perhaps your shrub hasn't fully settled in yet. Is it mulched? Might help to keep the roots cool this summer. Some of my established shrubs tend to get wilty at the tips when it's sunny and hot. Even today after the thunderstorm this morning, the hot sun this afternoon made my 10+ yo Deutzia pout.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 13, 2015 4:39 PM CST
I agree with William - not a good time to dig up a shrub. Maybe in the fall if it doesn't improve.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 13, 2015 4:39 PM CST
Hey Kevin, welcome to ATP Welcome!

Did you break up the root ball some and spread the roots out when you planted the shrub? Was the root ball good and moist? Sometimes if the potting mix in a pot gets very dried out it's hard to re-hydrate it and the water added goes over and around the root ball.

Amazing with all the rainy weather you've had, that plant hasn't rooted better. If this wilting keeps up, I would at least dig a small exploratory hole down beside the root ball and see if you can see what's happening.

If you get a run of hot weather now, I think a piece of shade cloth or something else to shade that baby might be a good idea.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
Jul 13, 2015 5:14 PM CST
Wow a lot of good advice some from my own state and all the way from Sweden.
It is mulched but not heavily. It gets full sun from early afternoon till dusk. Has been overly hot for this time of with all the rain and clouds keeping our early summer very mild.
I grow daylilys and other common flowers so this new shrub is a different animal for me. I heard it was hybridized in honor of Queen Elizabeth's golden jubilee thus the name.
Williams comments give me heart as i figure if it survives Swedish winters it will surly do good here in our sometimes harsh ones.
Next wilt i will hold off on the water and that exploratory hole sounds good too. Who knows i may be digging in soup. Lol.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
Jul 13, 2015 6:00 PM CST
Here it is overall and closeup views.
Thumb of 2015-07-13/kssmith/107144
Thumb of 2015-07-13/kssmith/e50bc0

More rain tonight. Watering can has cobwebs.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 13, 2015 6:14 PM CST
kssmith said: Hi all. Back in May i planted a new shrub ... If it goes 2 or 3 days w/o rain the very top growth of each branch starts to wilt.
... Thus far in July it has rained almost every other day. The area is well drained as its near the driveway which slopes to the street. The soil is good i just removed a 7 foot Arborvitae from that spot.


Good advice here!

It's only been in the ground two months - give it more time to establish its roots before deciding the site is poor.

Deeper mulch: couldn't hurt.

Sun ALL day?!? Brand new shrub?? Shade sounds like an excellent idea, to prevent tip wilting.

>> it has rained almost every other day. The area is well drained

That kind of discourages roots from growing. If plants "think", they KNOW they have plenty of water, so why bother growing roots deeply? The answer is that after the tiny root system drinks all the water it can reach, and the good drainage sucks all the meaning water AWAY, all the plant can do is wilt and die.

Don't pamper the plant by watering every day it doesn't rain! if you do that, it will never bother growing adequate roots. Maybe water deeply IF the wilt gets severe enough that new growth is about to die, not just wilt.


The other risk is the opposite of "water was too available so the roots got lazy".

Just because drainage was fine for an established arborvitae in normal climate conditions, doesn't necessarily mean it is OK for a shallow-rooted shrub when it rains 3 times per week..

When I hear "rain every other day", I think: "saturated soil = drowned roots"!

You may be able to rule that out, since you dug the shrub in, and you know how your soil drains.

>> it has rained almost every other day. The area is well drained

If your soil really is WELL drained at that spot, fine, frequent rains made life too easy for a new shrub that needed to push its roots harder than its foliage.

But if it only SEEMS well drained, the roots might have been unable to grow deep enough, which would be more serious than just "they were unmotivated to grow deep".

If you do dig down around that root ball, maybe do it right after a rain so you can see the water-logged state that MIGHT be drowning new roots every other day!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 13, 2015 6:18 PM CST
That looks awfully healthy to me! New leaves.

I wish all my plants looked that happy!

It doesn't look to me like root rot or any kind of poor drainage. But, if the plant is putting THAT much energy into new leaves right after transplanting, it either has a lot lot LOT of vigor, or it may be under-emphasizing root growth.

It looks low to the ground this year - maybe a little shade would be easy to arrange, if it has afternoon wilts.
Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
Jul 13, 2015 7:17 PM CST
What you say Rick makes sense to me. I am probably babying it too much. This has been such an unusual year for rainfall its kinda thrown me for a loop. Normally the garden hose would be in my hand every other night. If it rains tonight (it will) i'll dig that hole tomorrow. Thanks.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 13, 2015 7:24 PM CST
You just never know.

I wish people who think that "science" means that even complicated things follow simple rules and can be predicted would do more gardening!

Even simple plants are VERY complex. There might be some surprises lurking there.

Usually, as soon as I'm sure I know what some of my plants are reacting to, something totally different happens. I SWEAR they do some of that stuff just to mess with my head!

>> This has been such an unusual year for rainfall its kinda thrown me for a loop.

This last July was the hottest one Seattle EVER recorded. A radio station started listing all the "firsts" or "mosts" that this July accumulated, and it lasted for the rest of my drive home.

It seemed to me that this winter was also one of the warmest I ever heard about for the coastal PNW.

Oh, well, I just have to remember to sell my property after it becomes "ocean frontage", and before it becomes underwater.



Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Jul 14, 2015 4:58 AM CST
I'm thinking if it recovers after a watering that it may be more dry than too wet. As Elaine suggested (and assuming it was planted from a pot) the pot needs to be watered well before planting because it can be hard to get water into a dry rootball after planting. There can be problems with water - and roots - crossing from one type of media into another. (BTW did you amend the backfill for the planting hole, as this is no longer recommended for that reason unless the native soil is really terrible).

However, you mentioned disturbing the roots "some more" which may mean you did something to the rootball before you planted it? If so it can take a while for the roots to become established and support the top growth. It's also planted beside a garage which will make it hotter when the sun shines depending on the orientation and increase its need for water.

So I agree to dig down a little beside it and see what the situation is if it was planted with an intact rootball. I'm not sure I would do that, though, if the media was removed from the roots and it was planted bareroot as you would then disturb the roots that are trying to establish.
Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
Jul 14, 2015 6:57 PM CST
Checked it tonight. We had rain last night and some more today. Dug down several inches and all is evenly moist but not soaked. It surrounded by cement (pics) so maybe not getting a real soaking. When planting i always fill the hole half to 3/4 full of water. I only wish i had broken up the rootball some more. It came from Lowes in a 2 gallon pot.
Supposed to have sun next 2 days and its windy right now. If it starts to wilt i will leave it alone unless it really speads way down on the stems. Rootball appears to be taking the water. No telling what the roots are doing though. Time will tell i guess.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 14, 2015 8:16 PM CST
Oh! Sun PLUS wind!
Sun plus wind PLUS recently transplanted.

That sounds like a challenge for any root system, let alone a new one. Maybe in this case a little wilting is not so much a sign of a PROBLEM as an indication that your healthy plant is doing as well as can be expected when sun and dry wind blow water away from the leaves faster than roots can take it up.

My guess is that it will bring itself into balance after the frequent drenchings are over and you get some months of less rain and drier soil.

Just keep an eyeball peeled for the first few weeks when there's no rain, but the sun and wind are still there. You might have to jump in with some supplemental water or even shade or misting, if the roots are still "lazy" or not very deep when all the surface water drains away or evaporates.



Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
Jul 16, 2015 5:46 PM CST
Update. Yesterday the top few leaves looked wilted again but i did not water and we no rain overnight. This morning was nice and cool and what do you know it had fully recovered. I've seen other planters do the same thing but never put 2 and 2 together on this. It was only a small defense mechanism against direct sun and some wind.
When i checked the dirt yesterday all of it was evenly moist and cool to the touch and had hard time telling between original dirt and root ball. So i would say the mystery is solved and i have nothing to worry about.
If our normal hot and humid summer ever kicks in i may have to give it some tlc but until then it should be almost maintenance free. Thanks everyone for your input. This one will not be dug up. First new shrub in a long time and i am loving it.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 16, 2015 8:29 PM CST
Great news and an excellent follow-up!Thanks for letting us know.

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