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Q.Entire Flower Bed Is Dying — Why?

Anonymous added on July 16, 2011 | Answered

I have two 3-year old flower beds separated by a 4′ sidewalk. I tried to have them mirror each other with the same plants. They both are approximately 7′ away from large trees on neighboring properties. One side is doing great, but the other side is much smaller and all are dying. They are mostly shade plants (hosta, Jacob’s ladder, 2 kinds of bleeding heart, several coral bells, and eunonymous). I thought it was because the dying side gets more sun, but eunonymous shouldn’t be affected and everything seems to be turning brown with large holes in the center of the leaves. I’ve also had 2 weeping pussy willow trees not able to survive on the bad side. What could cause this?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 17, 2011

There are many things that could cause this. Off the top of my head, I am wondering if you use a de-icer on your sidewalks and is this bed close to your driveway as well? De-icers contain chemicals or salt, which will slowly poison a bed and if this bed is just a bit lower than the other one, the runnoff would go into this bed rather than the other.

The other possibility is that the bed simply lacks nutrients, while the other bed does not. You should have the soil of the dying bed tested to see what it is lacking.

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Answered on July 17, 2011

With the lack of rain this spring I would say it is probably the cause, trees 7 feet away are going to take copious amounts of water.

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