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wolly thyme looks dead, but is it?

Posted by doriswk 5 (My Page) on
Sat, May 7, 11 at 8:35

two years ago we planted woolly thyme and another type of creeping thyme as well as other types of ground covers on the stretch between the walk way and the road. Both types of thyme spread nicely, but the woolly thyme looked brown and dead once the snow melted after the first winter. We thought the salt from the road had killed it. But soon, it turned green, and turned into a well spreading ground cover during the summer season, so that it covers now abt. 3 ft by 8 ft. Well, after the second winter, the woolly thyme looks more hopeless (dead) than ever, whereas the other creeping thyme is healthy, green, and spreading. When I lift the brown scraggly mass of the woolly thyme, I can see a little bit of tiny green leaves here and there, but in most places I cannot see any green ( yet?)
My question, is, should I be patient and do nothing and hope for the best, as we did last year? Or should I cut back the scraggy brown mass (branches are longer now than after the first winter), hoping that more air will allow it to recuperate better? Or will the brown turn green, as it seemed to have done last year? I know we had an earlier spring last year, but it seems to me that the greening process happened much sooner after the snow melt.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: wolly thyme looks dead, but is it?

IME, dry, brown-looking woolly thyme is dead woolly thyme :-) This should be fully evergreen (or ever gray) and is the least moisture tolerant of any of the creeping thymes - less than very sharp drainage in the area and a persistent snow cover could very well make it difficult for this plant to survive.

There still may be life in the root system, which is why you may see some signs of new, green growth but the brown portions will not green up again. You should cut back any dead looking brown portions. But I would consider replacing the woolly thyme with a more winter and wet tolerant species.

RE: wolly thyme looks dead, but is it?

sorry gardengal48, for not thanking you sooner for your reply.
You are right,the woolly thyme near the road is dead except for a few sprigs. I have started transplanting little bits of other creeping thyme from another area that so far survived winters very well and is blooming right now. It is a difficult job because the soil near the road is extremely loamy and hard, and nothing has spread as yet. In future I am thinking of rooting some more of the creeping thyme first in starter pots and let them get strong there before transplanting, what do you think?

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