hostas came in very weak this year

covellaJune 25, 2013

This year my hostas came up very weak and thin. I've been gardening for years and hostas are about as foolproof as a plant gets but this year for some reason I've been shocked. I lost several varieties altogether and the growth on all the others isn't nearly as lush and thick as normal. Was it the winter with no snow cover??

Any suggestions for remediation and care?

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I have over 350 hostas in my St. Louis garden. and very rarely loose any hostas. However, I lost five plants this year, several of which were plants I have had for over ten years. What happened. Well, I made a few mistakes.

The spring of 2012. The spring started in February in St. Louis. For some reason, I decided to buy mulch in early March and I applied it uniformily over my garden. My plants struggled in some cases to get through the mulch layer and in other cases, the mulch created a great environment for voles. I had vole tunnels everywhere in some gardens! I know the voles contributed to loss of vigor.

The heat and lack of rain. I couldn't keep up with watering and was forced to 'retreat' in July. I focused my watering to certain gardens and saw early senescence in other gardens.

The net-net is I lost some plants and in other cases, saw loss of size by approximately 50%, perhaps even 70% in some cases.

Not sure one can do much about the heat and lack of rain. And I only used compost this year instead of mulch.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:08AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

just a guess ... with the lack of facts ....

i am in adrian.. just NW ot toledo ...

severe heat and drought last summer ... with a lack of moisture beginning with root growing time in july/august ...

that is when they store energy for the following spring ....

just one of the many possibilities ....

BTW.. what trees are you growing under .. ANYTHING in the maple family.. would have made the drought 10 times worse.. super competitors that they are ...


    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:18AM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

My water bill for July, August and September was so horrendous that I didn't have $ for a fall Hallson order. This spring the established hostas are really vigorous, even the ones nearest the Sivler Maple.

I don't know what you had done last year or your conditions but water, or lack of, certainly would be a logical issue considering last years drought.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:14AM
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I have been digging some of the of problem hostas and found its crown/root rotted, most of them are on the North side of the house, but had been growing well there for quite a while until these past year or two... Maybe you can dig one up and check on the roots... Not a popular answer.. But it is what it is lol!!!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I am in KC and I had a few come in very weak or not come back at. All were 4-5 years old and common, good performers here. I too am thinking voles due to the driest summer in recent memory. All in all, maybe 10-12 that came back small or gone completely.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:56PM
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