Cotoneaster dead?

morris000May 6, 2014

The plants at the north-east corner of my house took a beating this past winter. We had one of the coldest winters on record and I know it took out a large holly bush planted at this location. I thought the cotoneasters surrounding the holly were OK, but I'm no longer so sure.

It's May 6 here in zone 5b/6a and the cotoneasters have not yet returned. They are the low-growing variety, and are relatively mounded. They are currently about 2' in diameter. Unfortunately only a few stems on each plant actually show leaves at this point.

I'm new to cotoneasters... should I give it more time or can I consider them deceased too?

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akamainegrower

Check the stems for girdling. A neighbor has lost a fairly extensive planting of cotoneaster because creatures, presumably voles or chipmunks, ate the bark off a remakable number of the stems. This, too, can be attributed to the past winter. Many animals were desperate for food and the low growing cotoneasters provided that plus an area of shelter from deep snow. If a stem is girdled, that portion of the plant will die. If there are enough stems showing green cambium, you can prune out the dead ones and the plants should regrow from the roots fairly quickly.If you see no evidence of girdling the plants probably were killed by the intense cold. They may or may not regrow from the roots if cut back to ground level.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 5:28AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

were they snow covered???? if so.. how cold is not really an issue.. they were insulated ...

here in adrian MI ... z5 ... i am a week to two weeks late at this point ...

so i would suggest.. you give them more time...

you say you are new.. but dont tell us how long they have been in situ ... though winter was bad.. there could be other issues as to their failure ... such as trasplant last year .... that were complicated by a hard winter ...

in other words... the winter may have increased the 'effect' of the setback.. but not been the 'cause' ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Sequoiadendron4(6B)

I don't know, I'd say wait a couple more weeks and if no improvement, pull and replace. I have a cranberry cotoneaster and it is always one of the first things to grow leaves in the spring. Rabbits heavily prune it every winter and I haven't had any issues in the few years I've had it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:45AM
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morris000

I believe they were there for about 5 years. This is my first season in the house.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:57PM
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morris000

I'll keep an eye on it a few more days but I'm not seeing much change. There is like 1 stem per plant that has leaves, the rest are bare. When I bend the leaved stem, it's flexible; when I bend the others, they snap with little hint of green. Even if these were to grow back from the ground, I can't imagine they will look very good for quite some time (years?) so I may pull them out and replace them anyway.

Amazed at how brutal the winter was at this corner of my house...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 6:41PM
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