missing in action

mrssimsApril 7, 2011

Happy Spring everyone!!! I hope you all are having a wonderful time enjoying watching the return of all of your lovely plants and are as excited about growing your gardens and planning new projects as I am. I have another silly question (blame my over-watchfulness of the emerging gardens). What might cause me to lose a TON of hosta in a certain area? I have a small shady patch at the side of my yard under 3 trees. A walnut, a dogwood, and one that has been dead for a few years but is still there. I planted alot of hosta in it last year that my husband dug up from a job site (with the owners permission and blessing). They were huge clumps of a lovely blue hosta and some very small light green variegated with rounded leaves. I got about 30 smallish divisions from the smaller variety, and planted them around the edges of the shady area. They all seemed to do well. I had plenty of extras that I potted up, and then put some in a temporary holding bed because I didn't have anywhere prepared for them. I also bought a few different varieties from local garden centers to fill out the garden and provide diversity in color and shape. The potted divisions of the small green are doing amazing, already three to four times the size of the divisions from last year. I also see good sized starts coming up in the holding bed. However, in the area I planted so many, I only see one tiny leaf poking up out of at least 20 that I planted. The others have been up for about a week now, two in some cases. Because of the walnut tree, this area gets alot of squirrel activity. Would they dig and eat hosta? I just don't understand why they aren't coming back. The blue ones I put in that area are back already also. I really need to cultivate the area because of the invasion of Star of Bethlehem in that garden, but I don't want to destroy them if they might still be under there. Any advice?

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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

Pure guess on my part-is it possible that they just haven't come up yet, occasionally some of the ones I planted came up long after I forgot about them. You also mentioned a walnut tree. Is it a Black Walnut tree? They produce a chemical that is toxic to most plants, if your hosta are underneath they would not survive.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 4:24PM
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I have two huge hosta beds under black walnut trees that have been there for many years. They are not sensitive to the juglone that these trees produce. Hostas are one of the plants that do very well under black walnuts.

My guess is that they are just not up yet. I have many hostas that have been up for weeks and many that haven't even shown an eye yet--and the funny part is, I can dig around where I know those plants are, and not find a thing--and the next week, there they are all along, right where I was digging......I've quit looking for them until I actually see spears coming up.

If they never come up at all (in another couple of weeks) you might start looking for signs of voles as they will eat hostas from under the ground. You will see tunnels if you have them. Squirrels sometimes will dig around them but seldom dig them up, and if they accidentally do, they don't eat them.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 9:26PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

The deer love hostas if you have problems with deer around your place. That is why we can't have hostas here; they walk right down the middle of our street at times. Cute but destructive. So much construction going on with new Intercounty Connector highway that they've been chased away from their food source and homes.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 11:31PM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

That is good to know Mosswitch regarding hostas not bothered by black walnut. I don't think I am going to plant any hosta this year. We have so much work already to do on our new property and I have had to focus on getting any garden spots ready. We don't have to worry about deer in Alaska but moose are going to be the bane of my gardening life!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 4:31AM
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Thanks so much, guys!! I am not sure if it is a black walnut or another type. There are a few other hosta that I put in there doing very well. Maybe they just haven't come up yet. I will keep looking for another week or two. There were 3 yucca planted in that area that we have pulled out/dug out repeatedly that keep coming back....too bad the poison from the walnut tree didn't affect them. LOL!! I planted astilbe and a couple of ferns under there as well this year. They seem to be doing okay. I guess I will just have to wait and see!! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Be Patient. I live in Kansas and my hosta's under my maple tree are up about 2-3 inches the ones north of my house haven't peeked thru yet. When it snows that's where it all goes and I think it is colder and takes awhile to warm up on that side. All I have up on that side is my Helleborus. I really don't think you lost them

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Our hostas take their time coming back. The more established ones are up, but new ones are slower to emerge. And, they are fine under black walnut trees. We have black walnuts...the hostas are very healthy.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 5:37PM
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