Dead Daphne

Real LIfe Garden SolutionsJanuary 14, 2009

WE're just emerging from December's dump(s) of snow(s), pretty unusual in this neck of the woods. Until yesterday I was wondering how my daphne had fared, having been under the driveway's "shovellings". (Where do you in the East shovel your driveway snow onto? Or do you just make sure all your shrubs are bound up before the snow flies??) Today I went out and started to unsnow it, to find that every branch was broken off right at its source. I can't imagine it recovering at all. But is it possible to try to root some of these branches? REading about softwood cuttings, it's not exactly the right time to be doing it, but there isn't really any option here-- it's do it now or not at all. (They are all covered with cold-damaged brown leaves, but little green shoots or flower buds are visible all along the length of the branches.)

I'm suspecting that the new smoke bush and the new pieris at the other end of the garden, also next to the driveway, will have suffered the same fate, so if I can propagate them all instead of buying new, I'll be satisfied.

Thanks a bunch, hoping for good news...


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Sorry to hear about your damage. Daphnes (I assume you're talking D. odora) here tend to have a finite lifespan anyway, being susceptible to many bacterial diseases, and my heavy clay soil doesn't help, so I have to replace mine every few years or so. Still, I wouldn't be without one, if I could help it. I have rooted semi-ripe cuttings before, but never hardwood at this time of year. On the other hand, you've nothing to lose, and it may work out for you, so give it a shot. It's also possible that the plant will resprout from the base - it's amazing sometimes how many invisible adventitious buds there are on certain kinds of plants. I'd cut away the broken branches, leave the rest alone, and hope for the best.

Can't answer your snow question fully - we don't get much, either, and it's usually gone so quickly that it does little damage to plants. When I visit family in PA I notice that snow is piled against curbs, etc., but they landscape to provide for that; the shrubs they use are adapted for carrying loads of snow in winter. Daphne odora wouldn't be hardy in most areas with lots of snow cover, anyway, or would be planted away from areas where it might be piled up on top of the plant.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 4:22AM
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