leaves on my hebe have developed brown spots and fallen off. Now
the tree is bare. It is planted in a clay-soiled garden, which is
well drained in a keystone retaining wall. The shrub has a fence
behind it. The hebe gets the sun mid-morning until about 3pm in
the afternoon. What can I do to get the leaves to grow again and
how do I get rid of the brown spot? If I have to get rid of the
plant, can I put something else in its place?
I would say that your hebe is most likely dead. Sometimes when a
non-deciduous plant loses all of its leaves it can resprout, but
this will usually happen within a week or two of losing its leaves.
Sudden loss of leaves
suggests two possibilities to me. The first is that the soil dried
out too much for too long, and the hebe just gave up and died. If
this is the case, then in future you need to keep an eye on watering
the garden, increasing the organic material in the soil with compost,
and mulching with pea-straw or bark. Even if it rains, sometimes
it just isn't enough to wet the soil properly.
The second possibility
is that a root-rot set in and killed the plant. A number of diseases
will attack trees and shrubs, and there is not a lot you can do
about it. In future, buy a healthy-looking replacement, keep it
well-fed, well-watered and free of pests and diseases. I would avoid
planting another hebe in the same place. Visit your local garden
centre and have a look at the range of shrubs they have for your
area and your soil conditions. You might also consider improving
your soil and the drainage with sand, compost and gypsum. Good luck.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH