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Is my dymondia dying?

Posted by sheckylovejoy 10a (My Page) on
Tue, May 28, 13 at 12:42

I have dymondia in a roughly 12' x 12' area with a broken concrete path running through it. It's been there just about a year. After a sunless winter (it's on the north side of the house), it came back very strong in the spring once the sun hit it and became a very full, lush green carpet.

However, in the last two weeks, a couple of the dymondia plants have begun to die. They turn white and whither and then that's it. See attached photo

The temps in So Cal have been in the mid-high 70s with hot sun. The plants get a minute or two of water every morning in these conditions.

Some theories:

1) Not enough water: I don't think so, as the soil remains moist below the surface in the afternoon. I also have tried hand watering the affected areas. Also, dymondia have very long roots, and are very drought tolerant. This is one of the sunnier areas though, so perhaps there is the issue.

2) Too much water: It's literally only a minute or 2 of sprinkler in the morning, so I don't think that's too much

3) Disease: Have not come across anything that matches that description (people in wet areas seem to have problems with mold and fungus, but not me)

4) Cat urine: we have three cats that hang out back there most of the day. They tend not to like to urinate in areas like that, preferring the gravel paths and bark mulch so they can bury their business. I don't think it's likely, but I figured I'd bring it up.

5) Something I'm not thinking of?

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Did you ever find out what was wrong with your dymondia? I have the same problem with mine in San Jose. Clumps turn solid white and I can pull the leaves out with no resistance. It's very unsightly.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Not really sure what the problem is but I've found if you get rid of the dead stuff regularly it grows back amazingly fast.

Fwiw I've found it grows best with lots of water and some shade.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Wow. I've been told my various experts that dymondia should only be watered (deeply) once a week and that it needs full sun to thrive. How much and how often are you watering yours? The white clumps I'm getting in mine seems to be rotted, but I'm not sure.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Yeah, I was told the same thing, and struggled all last summer with it. The dymondia was patchy and looked junky. Then in the fall, the shadow from the house started moving across the dymondia, which is on the north side of the house. The shadowed area (that is just a couple of morning and afternoon hours of sunlight), started growing like crazy, though it didn't at all like the full shade in Dec/Jan. Now that summer is back, I realize that the worst areas are ones that get the most sun/least water. The area that is shaded by a large elm tree in the afternoon, on the other hand, is very lush. The best patch of it is a border area under a large Mexican Sage, which provides both shade, and extra water that drips off its stems when the sprinklers hit it. That area, and another border area shaded by heliotrope are insanely lush and I wished it all looked like that.

But to finally answer your question: 3 min every morning when temp will be 85+, 4 min for 90+, and 4 min + extra around noon when over 95.

My white stuff doesn't look rotted, just dead


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thanks for all the information. I have a similar thing in my yard, with the shady part looking better than the part that's in the sun all day. This goes completely opposite of what everything says about dymondia. I don't know what to do about my problem. I'm afraid to give it more water because it seems to be rotting, but the part that's rotting (assuming that's what it really is) is the part that's in full sun. Go figure.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

That's basically what's going on over here. The best thing I can tell you is that with regular fertilization (every 3 weeks with Dr Earth liquid 3-3-3 here), it grows back amazingly quickly, though other patches will begin to turn white while that is happening. I can also recommend spreading some manure in the early spring

Honestly, if I were doing it over, I'd go with a different ground cover. It's as much of a pain in the ass as grass is.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Yeah, I got rid of my grass lawn last summer because of all the hassles --- grubs and moles especially. The dymondia is not looking good at all. I really have no idea what to do. I was watering it every three days during moderate weather and that seemed to be too much because it starting rotting (I suppose) n areas (but not in the shade!), backed off to once a week but I think that's not enough, so I just changed my timer to every four days and will wait to see what happens with that. I'll adjust for heat waves. I live in San Jose, California. Where are you?


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I'm in the San Fernando Valley in LA. Personally, I think it's oversold as a low water alternative. It survives in low water, but looks crappy, so what's the point?

It definitely looks better this year now that it's firmly rooted (Installed last year in early June). In the early spring, buy a flat and fill in some of the holes. I found it looked best in April and May when it was getting about 4-6 hours of sun


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I agree --- it doesn't live up to the hype. There are so many white leaves throughout my dymondia that the whole thing looks really ugly.. I'm not talking about the normal silvery color of the underside of the leaves -- these leaves are solid white. Sounds like the same thing you had in your lawn last year. Mine was planted last August, so it has had plenty of time to get established. It's impossible to tell if it's too much water or too little, so all I can is keep experimenting. One thing I do notice is that the clumps that are along the perimeter of the lawn, which gets the least amount of water, are not filling in as fast. Those clumps seem healthy (relatively) but just didn't spread as rapidly as the rest of the lawn Really regretting this choice of groundcover! Mine is planted between flagstone --- maybe the heat reflected off the stone is contributing to the problem.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I don't think the flagstone is the issue. Mine is around broken concrete , and some of the best areas are near the concrete, though in the areas that get only partial sun. Here's my feeling after struggling with this and reading up.

1) Dymondia is very drought tolerant and will remain alive with little water, but looks junky and will not propagate well. I go for a little water every day once the hot weather gets cooking, as the afternoon sun is very intense here in the San Fernando Valley and I get singing without daily water or cloud-cover. YMMV up in SJ, but I think the climate is similar there in the summer.

2) It can live under full sun, but not well. It is happiest with 6-8 hours of sun. Too little, and it stays alive (leaves a darker green and longer/thinner) but will not propagate. When in full sun, the leaves tend to die off and turn white, like you say, but come back very quickly with enough water. If you look closely, the plants mostly don't die when you clear out the white leaves, they're just shedding leaves. The bare spots fill quickly, while new ones will appear. The only thing I can tell you here is keep at it, keep clearing off the white leaves, but you will always have sort of a rolling bare spot in full sun. I've come to think this is the natural plant cycle in full sun.

3) Also regretting it, it's been a real pain in the ass. It looked great in the spring, before the sun really got cooking, and still looks better than most lawns in LA, especially on the partial sun side, but it's been way too much work and worry.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thanks for all of your insight. I'll keep it all in mind as I experiment with my dymondia. It's advertised as a full-sun groundcover, so discovering that it really can't handle full sun has been very disappointing. My nursery guy said this plant is from Africa and is accustomed to long periods of drought. He recommended only watering once a week. Very confusing, to say the least.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

He wasn't lying that it can go for long periods without water in full sun, it's just that it looks terrible and doesn't propagate.

Try experimenting with a little water each morning and see what that does for you.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

sheckylovejoy,

I'm finding I'm having the same issues. I only planted 2 months ago and some places it is great and some not so much, I've had to replant twice, once it was the landscaper's fault and the other time b/c I couldn't take looking at the white dead stuff. I've been water 1-2 minutes in the very early morning. I'm also in the SFV in LA county and it's truly disheartening if it does look good all year long, especially since our summers are brutal and it's touted, as other have said to be drought tolerant. So, does the Dr Earth 3-3-3 work? but it kills the surrounding plants? Has anyone ever heard of "Superthrive"? I can't keep throwing money away, if I pull the dead plants out, does anyone think that the other will eventually spread to that area? Thanks!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I'm totally confused as far as how to water dymondia. I just spoke with a landscape designer this morning (one I've known for a long time who is a walking encyclopedia about every plant species in the kingdom). She said it's an over-watering problem. She suggested watering twice a week for about 8 minutes each time. As I said in an earlier post, I'm really regretting choosing this plant to replace my grass lawn. I have it planted between flagstone and it looks awful. It looks more white than green, so it's a poor substitute for grass, in my opinion. I've seen it planted on a hillside in Los Altos, California, and it looked gorgeous, which is the reason I chose it for my back yard, but it just looks sickly with all the white clumps everywhere. Sheckylovejoy says it will grow back quickly if you pull out the white clumps. Unfortunately for me, my dymondia is turning white everywhere (except the part that's gets the most shade, which is really perplexing since it comes from Africa and is supposed to be full-sun plant). Sorry I can't be of more help, but I'm clueless. Ready to rip the stuff out and start over with something else, but it would be a monumental job trying to dig it up from between flagstone.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thanks rmc6800

if you have a chance or run into your friend the landscaper, can you ask why is watering twice a week for 8 minutes vs. everyday for 2 is better? Is it because someone on an earlier post said they need "deep watering"? I'm using sprinklers. Will that work?

i also have some a 13' flagstone patio, again it's doing well in about 90% of the area. I'm totally mystified and after 32 flats not thrilled that it isn't growing in spots. It's so costly... Thank you for you help!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I don't expect to be speaking with the landscape designer again any time soon. She's not exactly a friend, just someone I've hired numerous times in the past. Her advice isn't free and she has a minimum charge. I'm trying what she said (twice a week for 8 minutes each time (I set my sprinkers to run for 4 minutes and then another 4 minutes an hour later) and will wait to see if it improves. The thing that really confuses me is that the dymondia that gets afternoon shade is doing better than the part that's in full sun, and it all gets the same amount of water. Can it be that everything we've been told about dymondia is wrong -- that it's really a shade plant and doesn't like full sun? But if it's native to Africa, how can that be??? I'm actually beginning to think that part of the problem in my yard is that the soil wasn't amended well enough by the landscaper when he planted the dymondia. It doesn't like compacted soil, and we have clay soil here. He did add compost, but it was that crappy compost that landscapers use that looks more like topsoil than real compost. I think it's just topsoil with some chicken mature tossed in. I'm going to give it another year and if it doesn't look better by then, I'll have to consider other options. I'll let you know in a couple of months if it's responding better to the new watering schedule, but I think it's going to take some time for it to recover, given that it's almost all white now except for the part that's in the shade. Obviously, this isn't what any of us expected when we chose dymondia as a groundcover!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I don't pretend to be any sort of expert on this, as evidenced by the fact that I started this thread looking for help. I only know what I see, which matches up with rmc's experiences, which is that it seems to like part shade and more water than we've been told. I'm anxious to hear what your experiences are. My strategy has been to clear the white stuff, extra water for especially dry patches, and regular fertilizer applications to encourage regrowth, which happens pretty quickly here.

Anyway, keep us posted, please.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

thanks RMC and Shekylovejoy!

Upon going home last night and after posting, I did notice that the part of the patio flagstone that has chairs on it, is practically "bushy" as it's so lush. But it is bushy in other areas as well. The space gets full sun as I'm in the San Fernando Valley...which makes me think I listed the wrong zone if Shekylovejoy lives here too. I also notice that I have some weeds coming thru some are Bermuda Grass and some are the broad type of weeds. So, i'm going to water 8 minutes twice a wk, go buy some Dr Earth 3-3-3, pull the white dead stuff and weed, weed, weed. I'll keep you posted!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

A fabulous product to control weeds (it's a pre-emergent and not something that will kill weeds that are already there) is Dimension. You can't buy it at places like Home Depot. I get it at a place called Sierra Pacific Turf Supply in San Jose. Buy the one that's just a pre-emergent, not pre-emergent combined with fertilizer. The application times are critical since you have to get it down before weeds germinate. I use it three times a year on my grass lawn and I haven't had a single weed in my lawn for 13 years. I apply it at the recommended rate around the 10th of February, the 10th of April, and the 15th of August. The August application prevents crabgrass. The February and April applications prevent poa annua and all the other weeds. It seems a bit expensive at first glance (around $50 a bag), but one bag lasts a long time. It works like a charm! You'll have to use another method to get rid of the existing weeds, but Dimension will prevent any weed seeds from germinating. I also use it on on my dymondia and I have no weeds there, either.

Hopefully, we can keep one another informed about how things go and we can all learn from this very trying experience! If this twice-a-week watering doesn't do it, I'll try watering more often, but my landscape designer, who knows more about plants than the law allows, said that the white clumps are from over-watering, so I'm afraid to water it every day. Unfortunately,, my sprinklers don't have even coverage, so the middle of the dymondia area gets too much water and the perimeter gets too little. The part that gets the least water hasn't spread as well and still has bare dirt around it, while the part that gets the most water is fully filled in but seems to be rotting. It's so perplexing!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thanks for the tip RMC! I'll take some pics this wkend to post.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

RMC,

I'm having a hard time fine the Dimension that you suggested, is it made by Lesco in a white and yellow bag? That's the closest I've seen.

thanks


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

No, that's not the right product. Refer to the link to see what the bag looks like. As far as I know, it's only available in professional lawn care stores, and not even all of those stores stock it. You'd have to call around and ask. As I mentioned before, a bag is expensive, but it goes a long way and you don't have to buy it often. It's expensive because it's good! Remember, it only works on weed seeds, not existing weeds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dimension


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thank you, RM6800. I've found a place that has it, somewhat in my area. Not really, but the shipping would be really high. I've read the info on it and it notes that you need a "spreader" to put it on the soil. Is that the route you go? I thought I could sprinkle it on? Also, do you have indoor/outdoor pets such as dogs or cats? Thanks for your time.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

You're welcome. Yes, you should use a spreader (I use a drop spreader, not rotary) because the application rate is important, just like when you fertilize a lawn. If you use too much, your'e wasting the product and it's not good for the environment, but if you use too little, it won't be effective. You need to measure the square footage of your area and calculate how many pounds of the product it requires, then evenly spread that amount on the area. I don't have pets. Not sure if it's harmful to pets or not, but if you water it in thoroughly after the application (which you SHOULD do anyway), I don't see how a dog or cat could be harmed by it. Remember, the timing is everything. If you don't apply this product at the right times of the year, it's worthless because the seeds will already have germinated. I apply it around the 10th of February, the 10th of April, and the 10th of August. It's important to do it three times a year if you want to prevent all types of weeds from germinating. You'll need another product to get rid of existing weeds or any weeds that are just beginning to pop up from seeds that have germinated in the soil but aren't quite visible yet. I love this product. My grass lawn hasn't had a single weed in it in 13 years, literally not one. If you're diligent about getting rid of the existing weeds and you use this product at the recommended times and at the recommended rates, you should have a weed-free lawn in no time.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

We have several thousand sqft of Dymondia here in Culver City,CA. Watering is by either mini popups or sub surface drip. Watering times are about 30% less than the turf. Fertilization is also about 30% less than turf.

Patches of rotting/dying off appear in spots in all the zones, especially the last few years. These spots tend to appear during the transition from Fall to Winter and Spring to Summer. I attribute them to a fungus associated with mushroom and spray accordingly with a fungicide.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thank you ddhort! Mine is doing well, for the most part except for the dead spots. I've also noticed that recently, some of it is turning all white and is "slimey". Could this be to the mushroom fungus you mentioned? What spray do you use that is safe for the plant? And, lastly I have some weeds but I can't get to them because i'll pull the dymondia as well, any suggestions without killing the plant itself?


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Try Daconil. Will require adherence to the label and more than one application. Spray not a drench. You’ll be treating the plant and the soil with spray. I believe the fungus is called Scelorateria(sp).

If the weeds are grasses Fusilade is a good herbicide without harming the Dymondia. Broadleafs are another problem, especially Oxalis which we hand weed using an asparagus knife. You just have to learn to hand weed with minimal damage to the Dymondia. There are no easy answers in gardening is there?


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thanks ddhort. Most of the weeds are grasses so I'll look to see where I can buy the Fusilade and the Daconil for the fungus. Upon further inspection today, it must be a fungus as I can actually see something that looks like white film for lack of a better description. This is my first house and first attempt at a yard, so no there are no easy answers especially for a "newbie!"


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Don't know whether posting external links is allowed but go to
DoYourOwnPestControl.com or DoMyOwnPestControl.com

They will have everything you'll need and extra fast shipping.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thank you. I just went out and looked again.....i feel like I'm losing the battle. It seems that more has been affected. I found the Daconil at Home Depot and I find that the people there don't know about the products, I don't know if Green Arrow knows more.

So, I need your help if you don't mind since you have planted much more that my 33 flats. A few questions (since the label may not provide me with your insight). Should I continue to pull out the plants that have been affected or if I spray, will they come back? The thought of buying more flats is going to make me pull my hair out! How often should I spray? We are doing the planting of the of the perimeter next week and I was going to buy more flats, but I don't want to waste money. And, should I spray the areas that have not been affected? I've been watering once a week for 10 minutes (down from twice a wk as I thought it was dying due to over watering), how often do you water? Thank you so much, and I'll try to not bother you anymore. Thanks for the link, I saw that link after I did a google search on the two items you told me about. The Fusilade isn't cheap to say the least....who thought a "drought tolerant " garden would be so difficult! Again, thank you!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I wouldn't touch the affected(infected)plants/areas. Your spray target should be extended outside the infected area. Will require up to 3 or 4 applications about 2-3 weeks apart. If well rooted they will come back. The fungus is both on the plant and the soil surface. I wouldn't touch any infected areas as you might spread the disease.
Irrigation sounds ok. We have mostly subsurface dripline emitting about 3/4inch/week for the present time.
Yes Fusliade isn't cheap but very effective on grasses in ornamentals. You can imagine hand weeding tiny grasses from Dymonidia and you have 7,000 sqft! It goes a long wayat .8oz per gal.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Thank you so much!
So, if I understand, don't pull the infected areas, but spray them and the areas outside? I now think that by pulling the infected areas last week and the week before, it has caused the fungus to spread. Off to home Depot for the Daconil and a sprayer. Home Depot is my new Macy's since I bought this house!


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

Pinkypie (or anyone else), did that Daconil work at preventing the slimy mold on the Dymondia?

I had the same problem last winter and it just started again a few weeks ago. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

I have dymondia hopefully taking over my yard. This winter, however, I just noticed that in the middle of the patches, there is some dying off, and what appears to be mold or mildew underneath. So, according to the posts above, I dug that portion out, and put some healthy soil back in. I'm sure it will fill in when the spring hits, but in the meantime, is this normal?

I prefer this as a ground cover because it is low growing, which eliminates mice, rats and lizards hiding in it, which was a problem with the aptenia. So I'm hoping this isn't unusual.


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RE: Is my dymondia dying?

EchoSilver,

the dacinol did seem to help. My problem was is that I pulled the affected areas and may have cause it to spread. I've stopped pulling and it has not spread. I do have patches that need to be replanted with additional flats in the next few weeks. I talked to the guy at Green Arrow and he recommended a granule fungicide, but that wasn't an option b/c I have a cat that loves to cruise through the yard and it's not safe for animals. Where is is thriving, it looks great. I'm hoping for better results when i replant in a few weeks. What happened last year when you had the slimey stuff? Did you leave it alone and it went away or did you pull it out? This was supposed to be an easy groundcover to work with. I didn't think I'd have so much trouble. But, I planted in the third wk of May, which was prpbably too late. That may have been fine, but I was given the wrong watering schedule and that may have been the whole issue for me. Hoping for better results when I fill in the places I pulled.

Terrilynn,
I, too, pulled some and sadly, it hasn't spread as I had hoped.

Keep me posted and I will as well!

Pinkypie


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