Please help =( Is this 'Lucy' standard permanently damaged?

mehearty(So ME z5a)August 22, 2006

Thank you in advance for your help. We have a lovely 8 ft "lucy" standard which lept beautifully on this, its 3rd year in our garden. It's beautiful to see her in bloom from inside the house as well as outside. She's got more buds than blossoms right bow so I know her best flush is yet to come. A couple of days ago we had some moderate-heavy rain and Lucy drooped. I figured it was no biggie, and that once she dried out a bit she would spring back. I even gently shook some of her branches to help get the rain out. Unfortunately she has not straightened back up and is an unsightly mess. =( Is there a way to help her recover or is a hard prune in her future? *sob* And an I to assume at this size, a decent rain will always be her enemy? All our other hibiscus were fine but they are not trained as standards.

Lucy a few weeks ago

=6>

Lucy today ... *sob* *boohoo*

Thank you so much for your time.

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mehearty(So ME z5a)

It still hasn't bounced back so after it's done blooming, a hard prune it will get. =( I've got her branches sort of tied together right now to give it some sort of shape. What a shame to see a regular ole summer rain do this to this plant. It doesn't look like I can ever let her get this big again. Darn. That sixe was perfect in front of that window.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 10:15AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Since no one else posted, I'll give it a shot.
The problem is that the plant hasn't been pinched often enough after it was initially formed into a tree shape. The shoots coming from the trunk are too long. Cut it back to about a foot from the trunk after it quits blooming. It's too late in the season to do a lot more shaping than that in your zone. But in the spring, cut the new growth that has resulted from that initial cut back to 1 foot from that "Y", then each time those cuts grow a foot from that "y" cut it back again, etc. until you get it back to your 8 foot size you liked, but it will be much denser and stronger, having many more short branches. Then rain wouldn't gather on the branches the same since they are forming a "y" every foot or so, and not so long, the extra weight of the wet rain and the long stems is what caused the problem. It was "tip heavy" with all those flowers and leaves and buds on the tips, and then they got wet all of a sudden and it added more weight..... If this doesn't make sense, e-mail me and I'll try to explain it better, or draw a picture or something.
When you notice it's setting on buds in the spring/early summer you have to quit pruning it back at that time, or you'll cut off your flowers, regardless of what size you've reached with it. So this might be a long-term project getting it back to the original size. But you'll have a stronger tree out of it, and fuller, and more round in the long run.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 7:46PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

Sandy, I think that made sense to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

~MH

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 1:05PM
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tsmith2579(7B)

If you fertilize (after pruning), use a fertilizer with a high middle number and a low first number. It may be geeting too much nitrogen and not enough phosphate.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 12:23PM
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