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Laurel Hedge failing

I have a laurel hedge which was planted in June 2010. The ground in which it is planted is a heavy clay soil type but I have a land drain running along both sides of the hedge and it is also planted up on a mound of soil which I got from digging the land drain so it is of the same type. This mound is also covered with weed block netting and I have wind block netting around the hedge also. Initially it done very well but this last few years it has gone backwards. The leaves are yellow in colour and the fall off quite easily. I have noticed on one area particularly that the leaves have gone soft and are drooping down. I have put chicken manure pellets around the base of some plants which does work in the short term but then the go back the same again. A friend of mine who works with the forestry seen it and said I need to put down “muriate of potash” as it seems to be lacking some nutrients. He also said that the cure can be worse than the disease so that has me worried that I could do more damage plus I am finding it hard to find a place that stacks it. So is there something similar to muriate of potash but would be safer to use? Brad, Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim Posted: 26/07/2017

Laurel does not grow in heavy wet ground. The weed block holds dampness,

Perhaps your drainage efforts will succeed. Are the drains still taking water out?

If it grew okay since 2010, something new  must have happened 7 years on. 

If you have applied chicken manure pellets, you have done all the feeding needed.

Muriate of potash is just a cheaper form of potash, sulphate of potash being used for most horticultural purposes. 


Tips of Hydrangea leaves turning brown

My hydrangea is in a large pot and the tips of the leaves are turning brown but the rest of the plant seems fine. The rose in the same pot is fine. What is wrong with the hydrangea? thanks for help. Reader, Tourmakeady , Co Mayo Posted: 18/05/2017

Hydrangeas like moist, humusy, well-drained soil and tend to suffer from drought in a pot when they have filled it with roots. Roses are better able to cope but will eventually suffer too.

 Plant them out or move to a bigger pot.


  Diseased Camellia

Diseased Camellia

I am wondering if you can tell me what is wrong with my Camellias. Both are kept in containers in a shaded position outside my front door. One of them looks like it is dying, is leaves have turned brown as have the flower buds and the new leave stalks. I'd there any way of saving this plant? What can I do too prevent it reoccurring? I have included photos below. The second appears completely different, it is thriving with lots of new growth & a healthy leaf colour. However I've notice numerous amounts of small black insects under the leaves. There are also ants present. My initial treatment of this was to wipe the insects off which I did but more ahead each day. Is there a product I should use for better results? EmmaK, Donaghmede, Co Dublin Posted: 19/04/2017

This looks like root rot ... possibly just because it happens occasionally,

or possibly due to too much water and water-logging causing roots to die, which can be made worse by too little water, or no watering for a long period and then over-watering a plant already weakened.


Mulching & Water Access to new hedging

Later this month, (April) I will be planting 4ft high Portuguese laurel hedging (potted) topped off with a permeable membrane and bark mulch to prevent weeds. Question :- As new plants will require watering for a certain period until they get established, will the mulch restrict water access to the plant roots? sylvester, , Posted: 12/04/2017

The mulch will not impede water, and you would be best advised to set up a little drip-irrigation set, if the hedge it more than a few metres, or you can hand-water until they are rooted with good growth. The mulch will break down on the membrane and create a compost for weeds, better without.


watering containers

The weather has been dry for a while now and it seems likely to continue. Should I water some of my container plants? I am thinking here of the Camelia, Rhododendron, Hydrangea and Wisteria. None of them seem to be dry. I have miniature roses in the greenhouse but they don't seem to be too dry either. henlen, , Co Kildare Posted: 18/01/2017

It is important to keep shrubs in containers watered during winter, even when there is rain because rain is not adequate, as the evergreen shrub foliage often prevents rain reaching the compost.

The surface of the compost can dry a little between waterings but the compost should not dry out. 


Beech hedge problem

I have a beech hedge which I planted bareroot 3-4 yrs ago and it has never properly established. Each year in spring time the buds/leaves burst and flourish out and it seems like it is doing well, but then by around mid June, it seems to stop growing. Some plants die, some turn yellow, some wither away and it generally looks unhealthy. I do water it if we have any dry spells but doesn't seem to make any difference. I have lost about 20% of the plants each year and have been replacing them each winter but I need to find out what the problem is. How can I find out what the problem is? ShaneCrane1, Cootehill, Co Cavan Posted: 12/07/2016

The most common problem with beech is the soil too wet and heavy. Plant roots can be affected in winter and die back, the top yellowing then due to a reduced root system. Try hornbeam as replacements as it is more tolerant of heavy ground.


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