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Stunted Plant Growth

Two years ago I planted two clematis and one burning bush. The plants have not grown much. In fact the burning bush has very few leaves and they turned red early this year.

Start by evaluating the planting site. Poorly drained soils, excessive water or insufficient moisture can cause stunted growth and plant decline. A wet growing season combined with poorly drained soils can cause these types of problems. Check the soil near the plantings several days, a week and 10 days after a heavy rain or thorough watering. Do not water unless the top 6-8 inches of soil have begun to dry. You can't stop the rain but you can correct your watering habits. If the soil is still water logged after a week (with no additional rainfall) you will need to correct the situation. Rework or raise the planting bed. This means temporarily removing the existing plants. Spring before growth begins is a good time for this project. Incorporate compost or peat moss into the planting bed to help improved drainage. Or purchase a well-drained topsoil mix from a reliable source and create raised planting beds. Improving the soil will pay off with years of enjoyment.


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