Ask a Question forum→Rabbits Killed My Goldflame Spireas?

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Fargo, ND
jthorp72
Jun 17, 2021 12:44 PM CST
Last year we had a landscaping company plant goldflame spireas, among other things, around our house. We had 8 of these plants set up as the perimeter of a large window well. Over the winter, we did have a lot of rabbits in the yard, and they definitely munched on these a bit. In the spring, one of the 8 plants came back beautifully, another 1 looks sickly, but is alive - and then the other 6 are dead. When contacting the landscaper about this, they said they wouldn't cover these plants because their demise was due to rabbits. But then upon looking at comments about spirea, all I see is that rabbits munching these make them stronger. And with most of the plants that didn't make it, there were only a couple branches trimmed down - most of the plant was still visible. I'm not going to fight it out with the landscaper over this, but I'm more concerned about planting again and having the same problem. If not rabbits, what could be the reason for their death? I watered them relatively regularly and they are about 75% sun/25% shade during the day. Any thoughts?
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 17, 2021 2:48 PM CST
It sounds like rabbits ate them. The landscaper is not responsible for their demise. Once planted you would be responsible.
You would be responsible for proper care.
I just planted 3, $450 crab apple trees. I have a 2 year warranty. But if I don't water them, or I hit them with a weed wacker, or run over them with my riding mower, I am responsible. The warranty does not cover my neglect or carelessness.

Or they died perhaps due to not enough water. There is no such thing really as "I kind of watered them regularly." Either they were watered properly or they weren't.
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[Last edited by BigBill - Jun 17, 2021 2:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
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sallyg
Jun 18, 2021 7:02 AM CST
I have to agree with jthorp, how would rabbits kill the plants without eating them all down?. Unless they ate enough that it kept forcing new growth, which weakened the plants, made them too frail for winter..

But also, consider that new plants in ground have roots just in the rootball that came from the pot. SO if that rootball dries out, you have to be sure and get that saturated. So it's possible the rootball dried out even while soil was getting sprinkled on top. Think of all the soil around the plants as a giant sponge that will all want to soak up whatever water you put down. ( thought is why I let my husband use the overhead sprinkler and cover the whole vegetable garden, because I know my spot watering with a can is not going to really last if it's really dry in general.)

and Welcome!
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Fargo, ND
jthorp72
Jun 18, 2021 7:27 AM CST
I guess the part that is vexing to me is how beautifully these plants seemed to be doing all last summer. They didn't look to be under any stress at all. As far as watering, I apologize for being somewhat vague. What I meant about "kinda watered the regularly" is that I didn't keep a consistent schedule. The first couple weeks after planting I watered for about 1 minute every other day - then went to a once a week watered after three weeks. Then the irrigation system for the yard also would reach the spirea - and that was on two times a day, every other day, for about two months.

But, I'll admit, I'm new to outdoor plantings and my landscaper gave me little for guidance. "Give then a good drink every once in a while" was the exact instructions I received after they were planted. I toned back my watering quite a bit during the cool days of the later fall. Perhaps I should have kept watering?
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Jun 18, 2021 9:36 AM CST
Well, who can really say what happened a year ago.... weather..? wet year, dry year..?

Just be sure if you plant new bushes, to go right to the base of each bush with the hose for a good drink. The lawn irrigation may keep the grass happy but not the bushes, after all they are taller and exposed to more wind.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Fargo, ND
jthorp72
Jun 18, 2021 9:52 AM CST
Another question - should I be using mulch around the base of these plants? The landscaper said it wasn't necessary, so they didn't add any...but they did around the trees that we had planted.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 18, 2021 9:55 AM CST
Hey jthorp72, it is your property. Pick out a smaller area and use say, chocolate brown mulch, say 10 square feet. Live with it for a couple of weeks. You like, spread more. If you don't, either change color or remove it!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 18, 2021 9:56 AM CST
I'd use mulch, doesn't it look tidier not having grass or weeds creep in? Personal preference.
Just don't dump it on their heads.. leave a little bare space around the stems, that will be shaded anyway and not much will grow. In a few years, the bushes should shade out more area and maybe you won't need mulch.. just mow along where lawn naturally poops out as it reaches the shade.

And then remember, if you just run a sprinkler for a short time, it's wetting the mulch first/only..
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)

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