dying hostas

daytonkingsriterJuly 18, 2012

1. I have a moderate sized hosta garden under two large trees. For years they did fairly well. However this year about half of them didn't come up. Should I keep watering them? Does this mean they have died?

2. Due to drought in this area, the leaves of some of the hostas that did come up have dried up. Does this mean they have died? Should I keep watering them?


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Extended drought from previous years can cause hostas to eventually die out, and tree root invasion can be the main cause for this eventual decline. While watering really, really good might help to keep them fighting a little longer you will want to get to the "root" of the problem, and your best odds will be to move them somewhere better.

The other problem can be with rodent damage over the winter, and if that's the reason for them not coming up they are gone.

I'd start digging up a couple of the ones that were still living and see if you have tree root problems. If so I'd soak them in water to help give them the water that they need so badly but has been stolen by tree roots, then find a new home for them.

I have one spot that was doing this, so I dug out a couple trees that were the biggest problems (luckily I have a loader to do this, and am happy for the winter firewood) then I amended, rototilled and replanted everything. I might have to lift that area again in 3 or 4 years since there are other trees nearby that will find this spot too.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:51AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i will bet that shiny penny on maple trees ...

water.. water.. water..

those that havent come up yet.. gone.. dead..

those that have gone SUMMER DORMANT.. lack of water ... which might mean tree roots are taking any water you THINK you are giving them ...


    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Those under or within 20 feet of my maple trees are really subject to root invasion... I've had to dig several up and clear several planting areas of tree roots this year... cultivating soil and digging out lots and lots of choking fiberous roots... at first your hostas seem to slow down.. then they start getting smaller... the key is to broadcast water the entire area and then some... that way the tree roots don't grow entirely towards the water in your beds... a trick I've learned is to water the ground heavier on the other side of the tree opposite your hostas... if I had enough shade left when I cut them down I would... hopefully by the time I die I will see all the water maples gone... I have sugar maples as well and they aren't nearly as invasive...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 12:15PM
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I have had beautiful back yard woodland garden with huge hostas in there. Over the years I noticed that the huge ones came up small sometimes and then died. i have pine trees and bald cypress so dont know if that is the cause? I spent lots of money on special hostas and they looked gorgeous for maybe 3 years and then they are gone..ALso I have some yellow nancy lamieum that I need to choke out..It covered the hostas sometimes> can this type of groundcover kill them

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 9:59AM
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