We recently planted Red Tip Photinia in our front yard (approx. 3 months ago). At first all 15 plants were doing great. The dirt was roto-tilled well, mulch was mixed in at the begining, and then our gardener started to use less mulch and the last five plants used only dirt. The plants in pure dirt are doing good, but the ones with the mulch mixed in the dirt have started to die quite rapidly. Do these type of plants generally need mulch mixed in or do they do better in just dirt? They are in full sun and are watered adequately. Please help save my investment.
Mulch is used around the plants as opposed to mixing it into the soil. It holds in the moisture, breaks down and improves soil. Adding compost (does come in bags) to improve soil is always a good idea. The mulch may be making the soil too course thus not allowing the plants enough water.