Ask a Question forum: Birchleaf Spiraea Dying?

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Name: Che Clark
Chicago, IL (western suburbs) (Zone 5b)
Sep 5, 2016 5:29 PM CST
Planted 2 nice, full birchleaf spirea a couple months ago, and they never really seem to have done very well. The soil was high grade from a highly respected garden center, added on top of already high quality black top soil. Everything else in the beds has done really well but the birchleaf doped leaved right away, later started some sparse new growth, but hasn't done anything else since. Can anyone tell from the photos what is happening here? Is this common for birchleaf when first planted (shock?) or is there something I need to do to help the plants recover? I was hoping to transplant them this fall to better fit them into the landscape design (which we had done after the birchleaf spirea were already planted for a good month or more), but I don't want to kill them....what should I do? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Sep 6, 2016 9:10 AM CST
che - it's been pretty hot at times and sun has been blasting. I see a drip line - have you checked the soil under the mulch around the plants, a couple of inches down to see if it's moist? Are they planted in full sun? I would make sure they're well-watered before moving them. To me, it looks more like heat or dry stress. I wouldn't fertilize your shrubs or cut them back this fall. You don't want to promote new growth going into winter. Early spring should be fine for trimming them back while still allowing enough time for flowers. Once you move them this fall, make sure they get an inch of water per week (irrigate if it doesn't rain) until the ground freezes.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Sep 6, 2016 10:32 AM CST
Did you provide temporary shade while the plant adjusted to the new environment?

One other thing I can think of. Did you check the root ball and soil when you un-potted the plant? My experience has been that some potted plants (even those from reputable nurseries) have too much peat type medium in the pot and once the peat dries it is almost impossible to re-wet it. When it's time to move the plants I would suggest removing all the soil from the roots and allow the plant to soak a bit before you plant it in the new spot. Protect the plant from the hot sun for several days and keep the soil watered.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Sep 6, 2016 11:55 AM CST
I agree with Greene and Shadegardener.
But ! I have one more idea ! Were they root bound? Did you scuff up outside of root expose some roots ? So they could grow into the outside soil ?
I've had people ask me why there plant died or is allmost dead ? After i ask a few questions.... I take a shovel. Dig up the plant. And the rootball looks like its still in the pot. No roots outside of ball. And the rootball is dry as a peice of popcorn !!!
Welcome! and come back again !!!
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Che Clark
Chicago, IL (western suburbs) (Zone 5b)
Sep 6, 2016 9:06 PM CST
Man this is just great. Than you all!!

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