Shrubs turn brown from inside (need suggestions)

curryriceAugust 24, 2013

Hi, I recnetly planted 18 shrubs around my front yard.
After a month, everything still looks OK.
But I recently noticed that some shrubs starts to turn brown from inside; and when I noticed it, there are already 3 of them turned completely brown.

I'm pretty sure the watering is not a issue, I have dripping system to each indivdual shrubs.
The system turns on in the morning at 7 AM for 15 mins.

Any idea what would cause the shrubs to turn brown?

pictures: http://imgur.com/a/89gy3
healthly shrub: http://i.imgur.com/RQTNsRq.jpg
turning brown from inside: http://i.imgur.com/858dLP2.jpg
completely brown: http://i.imgur.com/CiRUEqU.jpg

Thank you

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curryrice

image of the completely brown one

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You're watering every day? What kind of soil do you have under that plastic? That looks like a impervious plastic.....is it? What is the moisture level of the soil under the plastic.

I'd be willing to bet money that the problem IS the watering (and the plastic).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:16AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You're watering every day? What kind of soil do you have under that plastic? That looks like a impervious plastic.....is it? What is the moisture level of the soil under the plastic.

I'd be willing to bet money that the problem IS the watering (and the plastic).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:25AM
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curryrice

@rhizo_1
Yes, I water everyday. I'm not exactly sure about the soil, but I remember the contractor replaced the old soil with whatever they got from the nursery.
For the plastic, it's the weed blocker (Easy Gardener WeedBlock).
As for the moisture level, how do i measure it?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:44PM
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gardengal48

15 minutes a day with a drip system is nowhere near adequate watering for a newly planted shrub in summer. What is the GPH of your emitters? It would very likely be much more satisfactory to water less often (2-3X week?) but for a significantly longer period of time. You need the water to percolate down and saturate the soil evenly to depth of the rootball and all the way around.

The only way you can determine if the plants are getting adequate water is to physically test the root zone.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 2:45PM
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florauk(8/9)

In addition to what has been said it is important to know what shrubs you have. 18 'shrubs' doesn't really tell us what we are discussing. Different plants need different conditions. The ones in your pictures appear to be Myrtus communis. Is that correct? And are they all the same?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 4:44PM
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curryrice

@rhizo_1
Yes, I water everyday. I'm not exactly sure about the soil, but I remember the contractor replaced the old soil with whatever they got from the nursery.
For the plastic, it's the weed blocker (Easy Gardener WeedBlock).
As for the moisture level, how do i measure it?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:15PM
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curryrice

@florauk
Yes, they are Myrtus communis (18 of them).

@gardengal48
The emitters are pointed directly to the root; the emitters' head are black, so I think they are 1 GPH.
I'll adjust the duration and the frequency of the timer; probably 1 hour per day, and then 1 hour every other day after 2 weeks. (will slightly adjust after I check the root)

Is there a way to determine if the completely brown ones are still savable?

Thanks for the help and quick response.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:28PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

do NOT increase water.. until you dig a hole and find out if it is wet or dry ...

the black fabric is cooking your plants above ground...

and probably cooking the roots below with trapped and retained heat ...

i doubt if you will find any experienced gardener.. who favors any kind of landscape cloth ...

interior browning is normal.. there is no sunlight in there.. to maintain green leaves... its a function of how tight the outer canopy is ..

the all brown plant is dead ...

why did you not finish covering the black with the stone ...

no one can tell you about your soil.. you water.. when your plants .. needs water.. run irrigation.. dig hole.. find out what happened.. increase or decease amount of time run.. as necessary ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:02AM
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mulchmama

Get rid of that godawful weed barrier plastic and never use anything like it again! The lengths people go to to cut down on weeds -- to the point of making a terrible growing environmenbt for their gardens. Rip it up! Let your plants' roots breathe and take in moisture!!!!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:32AM
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curryrice

Thanks for the help.

Here's what I'm going to do:
1. remove weed blocker
2. investigate each drip head and make sure they are functional (apparently the half brown one's dripper head is stuck)
3. dig out the dead ones, check the soil moisture level, and adjust the drip system timer accordingly
4. replace the dead ones

one question about the soil moisture level: what would be the appropriate level?
Say if I water in the morning at 7 AM, and check the soil at 7 PM, should the soil still be wet?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 4:14AM
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