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Horticulture/Water restrictions

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Question
We bought a Deutzia and a Leucothoe in June. Water restrictions are unusually severe this year, and what watering we are allowed doesn't seem to be reaching the shrubs very well. The leaf tips are turning brown.

Should I prune these shrubs? Fewer leaves might lessen the amount of water lost through transpiration, but pruning might spur new growth that would increase the plant's water needs.

I dug a hole about two feet uphill from the Leucothoe, deep enough to hold a plastic flowerpot filled with stones. I figured this would direct the water to the root zone, instead of rolling off the top of the dry soil. However, I've never heard of anybody else doing this. Is there any reason I should remove the stones and refill the hole?

I'm wondering if buying plants when the nurseries have their summer sales is not such a good idea. The plants have less time to get established before winter (our sad-looking Daphne was a from a summer sale). Is it better economy to buy and plant early in the season?

Answer
No, Janet - you're on the right track.  Since you write to me so much, I want to give you my regular email, which will save you some time and steps, and I think it will be easier on both of us.  There are several tricks you can do to make the most of what water you are allowed.

Don't prune yet.  No, I don't think it's a false economy to buy slightly tired looking plants past their peak season - if you are shrewd and know the difference between a disease ridden plant, and one that just needs to get in the ground.

Send me a private message, so I can send you my email address.
Thanks,
Susan

Horticulture

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Susan Tabor

Expertise

Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.

Experience

35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Publications
Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Education/Credentials
Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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