Dying Barberry

Filed Under: Watering · Keywords: Water, Watering, New, Plant, Soil · 802 Views
I can't tell if I am over or under watering a newly planted barberry. The leaves are crisps and dry. I bought a probe for the soil and it says it's moist, but still not doing any better.


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Answer #2 · Kelly Camp's Answer · I am using my phone and it won't accept a picture from my phone.)


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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
If you can answer a few of the questions and check tomorrow for soil moisture it may help to find the problem. How long has this plant been in the ground and how fast did this browning start to take place? When replying you can type your answers and findings in the 'Comments about this answer' box. This way your reply doesn't show up as and answer to your original question. I believe all cell phones support the "jpeg" format but you would have to connect the phone to your computer to convert the picture to the "jpeg" format before downloading.

3 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Kelly-If this newly planted shrub has dried and crispy looking leaves there is only a few things that would cause this to happen so quickly. Possibly it isn't getting enough water. What size plant was this (1gal., 5gal., or larger)? Is the moisture probe long enough to reach the bottom of the root ball? Do you know the variety or cultivar name of the barberry you planted? Most require very little water once established but for the first growing season the soil will need to be kept moist but not too wet or dry. I have used several moisture meters over the years but don't rely on them too much. Density of the soil and other factors determine the resistance they use for their readings. This doesn't really tell you whether the water in the soil is available to the plant. Not enough water can of course dry out the plant. Too much water can also kill the plant. If the soil is too wet or saturated it will suffocate the roots not allowing them to absorb water and oxygen. It is best to dig down 6 to 8 inches in spots around the plants root ball and feel the soil. It should feel cool and moist but not too wet or dry. Watering every day during the warmer months may not be enough to soak deep enough to moisten the entire root ball to its depth. Its better to water slow and deep a couple of times a week then water quickly every or every other day. This does no good if the water isn't soaking in deep enough. Another thing that comes to mind is the location this plant had been growing in. Many times a plant may have been growing in a more shaded area at the grower or nursery and can be damaged while trying to acclimate itself to a more stressful environment such as one with full hot direct sunlight. This could be the reason leaves may be scorched, browning, and drying out. Make sure when planting you backfill the hole, lightly tamping the soil, making sure there are no air pockets left around the roots. This could dry out roots and eventually kill the plant. Are all the leaves turning turning brown and drying out or only areas of the plant? Look closely at the top and bottom surfaces of the leave for any signs of small insects. Is there any yellowing of the leaves before browning or any spotting on the leaves? Can you see any black, brown, yellow, or white substances on the leaves? I'm just thinking there is always the chance of insect or disease damage that may have started before purchasing the plant. Let me know what you find when digging down and checking the soils moisture. If you have a picture of the plant and an upclose picture of the dried and crisp looking leaves you can upload them to this question. It may help to identify the problem. Above this answer and to the right of your name below your question you will see where you can upload any picture you have saved on your computer.

John)



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