Landscape plants – are they dormant or dead?

Landscape plants – are they dormant or dead?

Have you wondered if your landscape plants are dormant or dead?  Deciding this on your own can be difficult. It is also contingent on if the plant life is a tree, shrub, or perennial. If it is a tree, you can very cautiously use a knife-edge and strip away a slight portion of bark, about a 2″ long segment or less. If the stem shows brown inside, then it is dead. If the stem is still green on the inside then it is alive! Perform this procedure on a small number of select branches, about 3, to make sure the whole tree is dead and not just a branch or two. A less intrusive technique would be to see if several branches all through the tree are malleable. If they bend it is most likely alive, if it snaps in two then it is most likely dead. Constantly remember to use care when cutting into a tree. You do not want to produce any further or preventable damage. Please feel free to call Sun Valley Landscaping professionals for guidance.

It is similar with shrubs. Nevertheless, there are shrubs that fully die back each year and re-grow from the ground up. If you are inspecting stems in the winter months make sure the shrub you are inspecting grows on the previous year’s stems, which may make the shrub seem to be dead. A small number of shrubs that die back to the ground every year would be Butterfly Bush, some Hydrangeas, and Blue Mist Shrubs.

Perennials can be more complicated and might take a bit more patience, especially with the lack of heat that we have had in Nebraska. During the summer months, if a perennial is brown and crunchy it is most likely dead, but not always. Just because the above ground portion of the plant seems dead, it still might have roots that are alive and will come back in the spring. You will actually have to wait until spring to see if anything pops up. The spring months, when soil temperatures are warm, are the only way to tell if something has truly died or just went into early dormancy from stress during the summer. With the rain and low temperatures that we have been experiencing in the Greater Omaha area, many plants have been slow to come up or grow, so patience is a must. If you think that your plants are not thriving or may be dead, wait for warmer weather. If you are still dissatisfied with their performance, call a Sun Valley professional to make an appointment.

Dead Shrub