Musing: Actions to revive a potentially dying shrub or tree?

sujiwan_gwMay 3, 2010

It has happened in my career of growing different trees and shrubs, that after winter certain ones look as if they are going to leaf out or bud, but time marches on and nothing happens. Once a certain period of time has lapsed, you know without a doubt that that plant is dead, kuput, finis.

We all know to check for green under the bark, but I have found that not to be foolproof. Something is going on inside that can't be seen causing the sap not to rise into the branches to get on with the leafing out process.

I wonder if there are any heroic measures that can be taken within a given period of time, dependent on the growth pattern of the plant, that will stimulate new growth from a different area preventing total plant death. Maybe you do something at root level, or to the branches (pruning) or trunk, Or a plant is dug up and treated, a plant hormone applied, salve put on--I dunno--just hazarding guesses here.

If such things might work, *when* to do it would be critical as there is a point of "too late". Knowing which categories of shrubs could be salvageable would be another point.

Anyone have experience with resuscitations?

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What exactly is it?
SPecify exactly what you are talking about, the age, and the general area that you live in.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 4:54PM
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I entitled this "Musing" because I'm not asking about a specific shrub although wondering about my lagging weigela made me compose this post. There hace been fair number of questions about viburnums that appear to be dying. So, taking a shrub like a viburnum, what might you do if you suspected that it was failing that could "revive" it? Versus something like a lilac?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 5:01PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

What, and whether or not something, can be done depends upon what it's failing from.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Picture trying to talk specifically about general medical conditions, this is almost the same kind of thing.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:08PM
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OK--let me ask this way. In what cases will pruning stimulate an otherwise failing plant to put out new growth? Which will respond by sending growth from the root level? And does root level stimulatio mostly only occur in suckering shrubs? I'm trying to come at this from the "Big picture level".

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:45AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I think you're talking about failure of a shrub to break dormancy. I've had this happen twice with a mail ordered shrub, and both nurseries replaced the plant. And once with a shrub that I had moved the previous season and had struggled some. Nurseries have told me that there was nothing to do but wait and see.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:52AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i dont see where pruning will save a dying tree ... or a dead tree ... hard to pin point that dichotomy ...

if you are dying.. will lopping off your arm???

perhaps.. if in fact that its the problem part ....

but how would you know on a tree ...

the losses i have had .. in late spring.. after i note bud swelling.. i can usually figure out a hard frost or freeze.. that hit the plant at just the wrong time.. and yes.. it can hit on tree ... or only affect the struggling on ....

a previously struggling plant [transplant .... drought the prior year... disease.. bug????] ... might have just enough power to bud out.. but then they get hit with the killing temps.. and frankly.. it just gives up .. if it had a choice ...

and if that is the case.. of what good would pruning be???

i suppose.. at that point.. you have nothing to lose ... cut on it.. and see if anything can be saved ... but i wouldnt bet too much money on it...


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:14AM
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Dan Staley

OK--let me ask this way. In what cases will pruning stimulate an otherwise failing plant to put out new growth?

This doesn't make sense botanically.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:02AM
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On a different note - I don't suppose you are including certain species w/ documented/claimed, shorter life-span?

e.g. 'had to put down a Quacking Aspen on the nursery's above diagnosis ... this guy refused to go w/o leaving heirs behind. I'm still discovering thick roots & sending shoots all over the place, running under other beds, particularly where they are not welcome & won't work aesthetically ... up to 30' away - where life support is, for sure! I hate chemical killings of invaders but the neighbor's yard is getting assaulted/invaded!!!

In my plantings, prior to demise of this *wonder boy*, I have inadvertently severed/chopped roots ... the ends took life of their own & created the heirs apparent!!! Ugh! What does one do w/ a very assertive kind?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:58PM
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