Drought Resistant Planting Help

ektaylor9274(5)June 26, 2008

I am xeriscaping my new home in NW NM and bought several drought resistant plants and all seem to be dying! I have 6 red yucca which seem to be doing ok, 3 gray cotoneasters that are wilting, 3 maiden grasses that are all curled up, an Adam's Needle yucca which is drooping and the flowers are wilted, and a golden vicary privet which is also wilting. I used Miracle Grow root starter on all, along with filling the hole in with top soil instead of the rocky sandy soil I removed. I have been soaking once a day in the morning. Am I over/under watering? I am young and dumb when it comes to plants and have no idea what I am doing.

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It has been really hot lately. Many established plants will wilt in the heat of the day. Top soil sold in bags is not good soil. It doesn't hold water. You might want to replace that with the natural sandy soil topped off with compost mulch. Can you do something to provide the new plants with a bit of shade until they are established? Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 11:50AM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

I agree with lorna-organic about the potting soil having problems holding water if they become dry. I would dig up the plants and mix the moistened potting soil with the native soil and re plant. Fill the hole with water and let drain before replanting. Before planting loosen the roots from the soil of the original pot. If this is hard to do, us a clean knife and cut 4-6 slits in the root ball. Neither procedure will hurt the plant, in fact it will allow the roots to grow away from the root ball. Water the replant and every two days for a wk. and increase the intervals by one day every week until you are watering once a wk. Continue this weekly watering until Nov. and then once a month during the winter. Beginning March water every two weeks for the rest of the year. NOTE: It take 2-3 years to establish a plant in our environment. Once established water deeply, 20-30 gallons, during dry times (at least once a month).

P.S. Make saucer of soil around the plant about 2-3 time the size of the hole.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 3:44PM
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I suspect I killed my Cotoneaster's with too much water. I don't think my soil was draining adequately.

Plant in the fall; I think you'll be happier.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:48AM
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antm0(Sunset Zone 13)

i agree! Except you never want to use potting soil in the ground, definately go with composted mulch and mix it 50/50 with your native soil, then back-fill that mix around your root balls, if you have drip emitters, make sure they come on for a sufficient length of time and at the right frequency. Once established you can adjust the watering system to a more laid back setup. Despite the hesperaloe and yucca being a "desert" type plant, they will benefit from that amendment of soil. And you guys are lucky, it takes us about 5-7 years for our plants to get established. :(

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 3:36PM
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