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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gopher Plants Dying

Q. What do think the problem would be with my three gopher plants? They seem to be getting enough water.
Readers Gopher plant
A. I am going to send you to a page at the Arizona State University for some general information.
This plant is a Mediterranean plant which means it likes soils that drain easily, hot summers within infrequent irrigation and cool rainy winters. Whenever I see branch die back on plants like this it usually indicates there is too much water remaining in the soil between irrigations.That is followed closely with root death caused by one of several plant diseases.

This means it is either watered too often or the soil does not drain very well or both. If this is the case, you will not solve this problem by simply giving it less water. You either have to take up the plant, amend that soil and replant it or move it to a new location that has improved soils and can handle frequent waterings.

Keep in mind, if this plant has a root disease you will be replanting it with that disease. If the soil is amended with high quality compost the plant may have a fighting chance of surviving through that disease.

If you cannot change how often the water comes on, you will have to change how rapidly the soil can drain the water. You will not change the soil by adding sand. This will make it worse. You have to use amendments such as compost, perlite, etc.

Once you have solved this problem you could cut this plant back to three or 4 inches in height and have it regrow again. Dead portions of the plant you can remove completely. Fertilize lightly in the early spring.

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