Anthony Waterer Spireas..Help!

shay2006January 2, 2009

I had my yard landscaped last spring and the landscaper planted 7 in my front garden. They were gorgeous all spring and summer blooming profusely up until the first really cold weather. They now look dead, with black limbs and hardly any leaves. I scarped the limbs and they are still green, so they are still alive but look terrible. Is this how they look in winter? If so, I am very disappointed, as I asked for all shrubs in the front garden be evergreen. As beautiful as they were, that is how ugly they are now. Is this normal for Anthony Waterers? Are they always this ugly in winter, and will they rebound in spring? Any information about these shrubs will be appreciated??


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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

All Spiraea x bumulda are deciduous.

Although evergreen shrubs are nice and definitely have their own appeal, most really beautiful shrubs are deciduous. Usually a mix of evergreens and deciduous results in the best overall landscape.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Thanks for your response. I must admit I am a novice with all of this and did not know they were deciduous, considering she told me all the shrubs she picked out would be evergreen. But why are the branches black, as if they were burned? Should I wait until spring to cut off the black parts? They sure are unsightly right now.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 8:28PM
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Wait until spring just before new growth starts to do any pruning - although I suspect yours really don't need pruning. What appears to be dead might just be the old bloom cluster remnants.

Although your landscaper really should have known these are deciduous, AW Spirea holds onto its leaves to the point of being persistent in warmer Southern climates.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Thanks! It has gotten down to the 20's this winter a couple of times here in Birmingham, AL, but there are very few leaves left, and the ones that are left, are yellow to black. I'm sure she knew they were deciduous, but unfortunately, I didn't. I used a large company based in Atlanta, that closed here a few months after I had the work done, or I would call them. Oh well, I have learned a valuable lesson and I will do my homework from now on when and if I ever hire another professional landscaper. Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 12:36PM
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All spiraeas are deciduous and any landscaper worth their salt would know that. It's a shame she didn't inform you that she was including deciduous shrubs when you had requested only evergreen, however despite their rough look in winter, they will add much to your garden that evergreen shrubs will not. Deciduous shrubs generally have a much longer and more profuse bloom cycle than do evergreens and many, including the spiraeas, will offer fall color as well. As brandon notes, a mix of both evergreen and deciduous plant material will typically offer the widest appeal. For front gardens in mild climates that are on public display all year, I try to shoot for 2/3 evergreen, 1/3 deciduous. For colder areas, the choice of evergreen shrubs is far more limited, so that ratio may flip.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 11:45AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

It's a sad fact of life that many of my favorite deciduous shrubs are pretty ugly in winter. I have moved my AW spireas, roses, and hydrangeas from the front to the back and sides.

The front foundation primarily consists of azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies and conifers. Just to keep the appeal throughout winter.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 10:50AM
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I do have a mix of evergreens and deciduous, although I didn't realize it ;). I assume that she planned it that way, as you all have explained, to give it the most appeal. I just wish she would have given me the option, and explained how bad the AW look in winter. I must admit that the garden was spectacular this summer. I have hollies, knock out roses, a camellia, gulf stream nandinas, creeping gardenias, purple cone flowers, lead wort plumbagos, victoria blue salvia, yellow day lilies, purple verbena, and million bells. The only thing from the original landscaping she used were the hollies, and the camellia. Hopefully, everything will come back with the exception of the million bells. It really was beautiful, and I hope it will be as pretty this year. She also did out back yard, which is beautiful. I planted pansies where the annuals were this fall in the front. I love everything she planted, but just wasn't prepared for the spireas to be so ugly. Spring cant get here fast enough for me...LOL Picture attached, but really doesn't do it justice.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:44PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Wow! I love your front beds. Talk about curb appeal!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 10:16AM
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Viburnum 'Conoy' would be great as an evergreen and tremendous flowers in early spring. Viburnums are unbeatable in any hardiness zone with so many cultivars from which to choose. Conoy stays small at under 4 feet. Most are much larger and too large for average residential property.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 4:34AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"All spiraeas are deciduous..."

While most are, there are exceptions. There are a few that are semi-evergreen and at least one that is truly evergreen in warmer areas of the country.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 11:00AM
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If you are referring to S. cantoniensis 'Lanceata' (syn 'Flore Pleno'), most resources will list it as "almost" evergreen at best. And I guess it depends on how one defines "evergreen", but semi-evergreen or almost evergreen don't quite make the grade in my book :-) And in zone 7, it is unlikely that even these 'grades' of evergreen would be met successfully.

For all practical purposes, spiraeas are considered deciduous shrubs, some with more or less persistent foliage.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 1:29PM
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ROFL Semi-evergreens don't usually make the cut here either, most are not so attractive now. :)

Having said that, I admit to planting spiraeas in my west-facing front yard, with the full knowledge of what they would look like in winter, hee hee! Plus Knock Out roses, and purple-leaved ninebark, and some nice inkberry holly shrubs. Hollies prefer acidic soils, so mine are hanging on for dear life. I think I would've actually been happier with boxwood, but they are much more expensive for the size I wanted.

Well anyway, the mix of deciduous and evergreen shrubs isn't just for looks. Diversity is very important to wildlife habitat preservation, and for pest & disease resistance. The use of monocultures (all one species or cultivar, which means genetically identical plants in many cases) upsets the ecological balance of nature.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 1:41AM
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