survival mode

beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)July 7, 2010

The drought here in the mid atlantic states has gotten fairly severe. I am looking at my wilting ( dying) shrubs that I can no longer water and wondering what to do. I was wondering if it makes sense to start cutting them back hard so there is a lot less plant for the roots to support. I do not care what they look like this year I just want them to have a fighting chance of survival. I have vitexes, ninebarks, all types of hydrangeas, detzias, spireas, callicarpias, roses, several species of viburnums, iteas, cletheras, azaleas, and lots more, all look awful and are starting to drop their inner leaves. I cannot water them so I welcome any suggestions. Thanks

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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

The best answer is to let what happens, happen. Do not try to remedy that which is not known before it happens. What will be left will be left. The damage probably will be less than you expect. Plants will self-prune in this situation. Let them decide what has died back and what hasn't. Sit tight and wait, prune later.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 9:16PM
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Why can't you water them?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 12:48AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are trying to love them to death ...

i agree with leaving them alone ... what will be.. will be ....


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:09PM
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Why can't you water them?

A friend in Maryland (a state that abuts VA on the map) reports there's been no meaningful rain. I'm sure there are water restrictions, either mandatory or strongly recommended, until the situation eases.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:33PM
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You're sure there are water restrictions, did you check?
Surface drought is different than groundwater levels, which are fine from previous years' rainfall amounts. Most of Virginia is normal to above normal.* If you have a well you can help your plants in order of value to you, by drip irrigation, without taxing your well. Put your hose on a slow leak, like a leaky faucet - for a day or so, under your plant, until it's well soaked. Make sure you don't forget about it. Watering is an art, to be learned through trial and error. If plants are on a slope, hose leak dripping distance, from the plant, must be appropriate so that the downward flow doesn't runoff past the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: * link

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 1:22PM
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Also, I would not prune anything during dryness, as that will stimulate the plant to put out new growth. Without ample water to sustain this, the new growth will further stress the plant.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 1:25PM
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