What's going on with my Spirea plants?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-22-16, 02:16 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
What's going on with my Spirea plants?

I planted three spirea (little princess variety) along my front walkway last spring. They all get full sun and looked great through the summer last year. But toward the end of summer/beginning of fall the leaves on one started to turn yellow. The others were doing great so I couldn't think of anything wrong I was doing (e.g. over-watering).

Well now with spring here they are coming back to life, except the one that was having issues isn't near as lively...only a little bit of green. Here are a couple pictures:



Is there anything I can do/check to bring this spirea back to life?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-22-16, 08:09 PM
Y
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 791
Received 12 Votes on 12 Posts
Carefully dig it up and look at the root structure. The one in the middle does not look all that good, either.
 
  #3  
Old 03-22-16, 08:48 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply. I will definitely do that. What am I looking for with the root structure?

Yeah, I noticed the middle one has less leaves than the one on the right. The gradual decrease in plant health as you move from right to left maybe says something about the soil? Maybe one side is holding more water than the other?

I can't recall exactly what I did when I planted them. I think I amended the soil with a bit of compost but I do remember mixing up the soil in that area pretty well so it was all consistent. If that is the case then maybe one area is holding more water than the other? That's the only difference I can think of. Especially since spirea can adapt to a wide range of pH levels. I do recall reading last year that the yellowing of leaves indicates overwatering...
 
  #4  
Old 03-23-16, 06:17 AM
Y
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 791
Received 12 Votes on 12 Posts
Any critters chewing on the roots? When planted, were the roots circular and crowded inside the pot? It is best to unravel and straighten them out as you plant. Why not buy a $10 moisture meter with a 6 inch probe and poke it around all three shrubs? If you wipe the tip occasionally...they actually give you a good reading.
 
  #5  
Old 03-23-16, 09:22 AM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 26,019
Received 676 Votes on 625 Posts
They die back during winter and should have been agressively pruned back. Its not too late to trim them so I would suggest you prune them back to a ball shape. If you want them equal size do that. They will grow back over the summer.
 
  #6  
Old 03-23-16, 11:18 AM
S
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,580
Received 94 Votes on 83 Posts
My dad has some spirea he and my mom planted years ago and I've noticed every year it seems to take longer to look good in the spring than any other plants in the yard.
 
  #7  
Old 03-24-16, 07:02 AM
Y
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 791
Received 12 Votes on 12 Posts
I looked in a garden book and see these get 3' tall x 6' wide. They seem to be about a foot apart in your photo. BTW, how are the lavender plants doing from last year ?
 
  #8  
Old 03-24-16, 07:14 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,635
Received 209 Votes on 185 Posts
Spirea are pretty bomb proof. They will likely come back. I would leave them alone until the full leaf out then prune the dead stuff off.
 
  #9  
Old 04-02-16, 09:57 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry everyone, I didn't realize I had so many responses.

I finally dug up the problem plant and found the soil to be quite mucky. Pretty saturated with water and we've had some pretty warm weather the last week or so. So, based on what I've read about the leaves turning yellow (last year) might be from over-watering, I'd say my soil is holding too much moisture.

For fun I dug up the good looking spirea on the right and found the soil to be not nearly as saturated, which may be why it is doing better than the plant on the far left.

Maybe my best option is to dig up the plants and replace all the soil with something that is better? And go easy with the watering. What do you think?

I looked in a garden book and see these get 3' tall x 6' wide. They seem to be about a foot apart in your photo. BTW, how are the lavender plants doing from last year ?
Yeah, they are pretty close together right now. I figured once they get bigger I can either move one of them or just keep them pruned back. The lavender are doing good...they grew like crazy last year but I neglected to prune them back last fall like I should have. But they are looking pretty good
 
  #10  
Old 04-03-16, 04:56 PM
Y
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 791
Received 12 Votes on 12 Posts
It appears the spirea are getting water from the adjacent lawn. Can you adjust the lawn sprinkler? Also I see concrete patio nearby. It is sloped towards the spirea ?

You can replace the spirea with something more water tolerant. How about mint....now that Mojito season is close at hand
 
  #11  
Old 04-04-16, 04:12 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
No sprinkler system on the lawn, so that isn't it. The concrete is the walkway up to the front door, so I suppose any rain could find its way to the spirea. Though, the entire yard is sloping so I feel like it would drain off fairly well...maybe not. Here's another shot of the area facing out from the front door:



Maybe that flowerbed just doesn't have the best soil? I mixed in some compost when I planted the spirea but other than that I don't know what the previous owners did...if anything. Nothing was planted there when we moved in. Seeing how the two other spirea are doing pretty good I feel like if pull out all that dirt and bring in better soil that may solve my problem.

But, a Mojito does sound pretty tasty right about now
 
  #12  
Old 05-16-16, 01:34 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thought I'd post an update.

I never got around to replanting the spirea, but luckily the two healthy plants started to take off quite nicely. I've only watered them once when we had a week of pretty hot weather, but other than that they've been on their own. The middle one actually looks to be thriving a bit more than the end plant, but they both look great. The problem plant still hasn't recovered and I think my plan is to move it to a different area to see what happens to it, and then shift the two plants to take up that area. If they keep growing like this they'll both fill up that area quite nicely...three may have been two much by the time they get big.

I think my problem last year was over watering. We had a hot summer but I still probably watered them more than I should have, which could explain why the one died off and showed signs of overwatering. I'm just surprised the others didn't do the same.

 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: