Viburnum turning black

eshore21814(z7Chesapeake)May 20, 2008

Hi all. IÂve been reading the forum for awhile (and have learned more here than in any book or at any garden center; thank you!) but am new to posting. IÂll try to be brief.

A couple of weeks ago I planted one viburnum nudum species and one Winterthur about 8 ft apart. The Winterthur was terribly pot bound but otherwise appeared robust. I did the best I could with the roots, planted it, mulched them both lightly with compost, and hoped for the best.

Since then weÂve had rain every 2-3 days, some of it very heavy (twice weÂve had 2" or so). Our soil is loamy sand (more sand than loam) so I havenÂt been very concerned about drainage  until now. The Winterthur has several leaves that are turning black from the tip to about halfway down the leaf. What could this be? The species is doing splendidly and has new growth.

IÂll be grateful for any advice. Thanks!

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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

I'm surprised there's been no response to your question, eshore21814. Everyone must be out gardening - imagine that. Has the situation with your Viburnum nudum changed at all within the last week?

This viburnum species is quite at home in wet soils, being native to swampy areas and along bodies of water. Too wet isn't usually a problem. I suspect the darkening of a few leaves (recently after transplantation and some root disturbance) is normal. Couple that with constantly wet leaves, and you may have a case of a temporary pathogen expressed as leaf deterioration that should clear up as the plant roots into its new home. If this is a decent sized plant (you didn't say; was it a 5G or so?), you could clip off the discolored leaves and discard them.

Have you noticed the leaves "flagging" (drooping) at all? Sometimes a very potbound plant can have trouble taking up moisture once planted, since watering may not be quite as focused on the restricted space that roots really occupy (the former potted zone). A dribble or point source of watering at the base of the plant is actually much better than overall rainfall in keeping the root system moist until it breaks out into the surrounding soil with dissimilar texture.

Next tme (and there always is one in gardening), taking a potbound plant during dormancy and bare-rooting it before planting can be much more successful, and is certainly educationally enlightening.

Doing so enables one to:

Âfurther disentangle encircling roots

Âlearn about habits of root systems in plants

Âspread out the disentangled root system in an appropriately sized planting area

Âproperly prepare the soil for replanting a bare root plant, so that the soil settles in around the root system

Âmakes one a much better shopper when selecting plants

Âwhich then one can express to the proprietors/vendors so that they alter their strategies in offering such a product

All these things (as well as additional things too numerous to mention) will aid any gardener in becoming more confident in selecting and handling plants, bare root or not. By being good at handling bare root plants, though, a new arena of efficiency and cost effectiveness is now your playground. Plants are much less expensive and much LIGHTER to handle (shipping-wise, and in your garden), making your $$ and efforts go farther.

This also reduces opportunities for unnecessary or inadvertant transport of insects, diseases, weeds, and other pathogens that may come with a soil medium. Not a bad plan of action.

Let us know the progress of your viburnums.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 8:22AM
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Thanks viburnumvalley for sharing your wisdom (I have been hoping that you would come across my post). I believe you are correct; yesterday I noticed the leaves drooping when I went to water it. I had already removed and disposed of the blackened leaves a few days before and have been checking daily for other signs of distress. I'll be extra vigilant about watering throughout the hot summer months.

I very much appreciate your comments about bare rooting plants. It had never occurred to me to do this and now I think I will try it the next time I end up with a pot bound plant. And there is likely to be another time since I've been buying my natives from an arboretum that hosts a fundraising native plant sale twice a year. I've purchased several shrubs from the sale twice now, and both times at least one has been pretty pot bound. I hate to complain under the circumstances (especially since natives are hard to find in our area); I'll try to be more careful about which ones I select in the future.

Thanks again! I'll post soon about the hedgerow I'm trying to build, and hope to hear from you about that as well.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 1:01PM
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