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Ceanothus & Japanese Maple/Acer Problems

I've got a small ceanothus which I bought and planted in my border last year. It seemed to do well to begin with and really started to take off.

Since the autumn though some of the top branches have died off going very dry, while the rest of the plant looks ok. I've cut off the dead bits which means it's now about half the size it was. The bits that died off were quite random - perhaps the longer branches furthest from the roots? Is this likely to be lack of water of something more sinister?

The border that it is in is very sunny but has a rotting tree stump in it - not sure if this will have any impact on it? When I've had ceanothus in the past, they've been incredibly vigorous and easy to grow, so I'm surprised that this was is being a bit more tricky. It has a few small flowers on it but not many.

Is there anything that I should do with it or just leave it and water well?

I'm not sure which variety it is but it has quite small dark leaves, it could be skylark.

I've also got a red acer in the same bed which has been there a couple of years. The leaves on it seem to get scorched each year by the end of the summer (either that or lack of water?). it was looking very healthy with lots of new leaves but I just spotted today that all the new healthy leaves have wilted and it looks a bit sorry for itself. Is this likely to be frost? I can't believe it is lack of water this time given how much rain we've had recently! Any help gratefully received!




Acers dont like cold winds. They seem to survive frost so wind is a possible cause . More than likely it will recover. The tips of the ceonothus sounds like frost damage.

19 May, 2012


The Ceanothus might also be showing damage from insufficient water last autumn - we had a very summery September and October, with very little rain both in London and your part of the world. Being a new plant last year, it would have needed a fair amount of watering during that time, so what you're seeing now might be partially a result of those drought conditions, coupled with cold and frost damage during February.

19 May, 2012


Thanks for your help.

The acer never seems to fare that well. By the end of the summer the leaves seem to get scorched and die off. I'm not sure if this is due to the dry weather we've had the last couple of years combined with it getting established or the position it is in (it is in a fully sunny spot which probably gets a bit of wind). Would it be better moved to a more shady & protected spot?

19 May, 2012


I guess so - they are woodland plants and most don't do well in full sun. If you have somewhere semi shaded and more out of the wind it might do better.

19 May, 2012


Not sure about moving it. Sounds like cold wind isn't a big problem in your situation. Sometimes you get a plant and no matter what you do , it just doesn't take off. Moving it and giving a new start might help , or it might just be one of those plants that was never really strong to start with. Good luck with it.

19 May, 2012


I'd move the Acer, but not till late autumn, when its dormant. Move to a sheltered, shadier spot - what they really like is dappled shade, so not somewhere that doesn't get any sun at all, but somewhere they won't be fried between 11 and 3 in the summer, and preferably sheltered from wind.

19 May, 2012



Are they ok with quite dry soil (once established)? I have a patch under an large ivy hedge that I could move it to (later in the year) which would be more sheltered but the soil gets quite dry.

20 May, 2012


Not really - they like well drained soil which does not dry out all the time, so if you put it there, you'd need to plant a couple of feet away at least, incorporating a good amount of soil conditioning compost into the area, and watering during dry spells. Ivy also has an incredible amount of root spread in the ground, so I wouldn't plant too near a large ivy.

20 May, 2012

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