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    ihatemyhouse's Avatar
    ihatemyhouse Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 15, 2015, 10:36 AM
    Troubled Plants - 3 alive, 1 dead
    Hello. Forgive my ignorance in advance. :) So, outside my townhouse is a small flower bed (maybe 10 x 5). This is a new construction house. It came with four green shrubs. They are in a line in front of the house with maybe a foot or two between them.

    After we moved in, one of the plants completely died (o x o o). The x is the dead plant. Because it died so soon after moving in, the builder replaced it. Three weeks later, it died. I contacted the builder and was told to water better. Interestingly, my gas line goes into the house right near this plant. I thought maybe there was a gas leak. Gas company came out and said all was OK. I ended up pulling all the bushes and replacing. This time, a few weeks passed and again the one bush started showing signs of death. Sure enough, we are back to (o x o o).

    Some things I've noticed about the soil on the whole... it's very rocky and has lots of clay. I also easily get this while stringy looking fungus all over under the mulch.

    Question: what could be causing a single plant to be consistently dying? I'm kind of ready to pull everything, remove a few inches of mulch and soil and try again.

    Any instruction would be appreciated.

    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674

    Dec 15, 2015, 03:30 PM
    In a new construction site builders bury tons of detritus, God knows what. I suggest you build up topsoil and plant what you want.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert

    Dec 15, 2015, 03:40 PM
    Good mystery!
    So many possibilities... I once planted behind a triple decker that had been built in the late 1800s. There were some very strange results that I finally decided were from pockets of dirty crankcase oil being dumped there over many years, even though I couldn't see it. My pepper plants were tiny, with tiny peppers, and each pepper glistened with what looked just like an oil slick.

    Fungus under the mulch is from too much moisture. There's nothing to be gained by overwatering, when water can't even get to the roots.

    My first guess would be that the builder or gasline installer put different soil on top of the gas line, after it was installed. Something worse than the other plants got. Not necessarily toxic soil, just very unhealthy clay and rock, with no compost or peat or humus or fertilizer. So I would remove the pesky area, about 18" x 20" x 60" (maybe all 5' not needed), and mix half of it with good garden soil, and plant the cheapest shrub you can get as a test.
    Another possibility is a very tiny gas leak that the gas company didn't detect.... but I think the smell would make it's way to the surface.

    My current house is on clay and rock. I tried planting many plants with mix-in of good topsoil, but my holes weren't big enough. They grew, but never flower, or bear fruit, or grow as much as they should. They are like bonsais that way.
    ihatemyhouse's Avatar
    ihatemyhouse Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 16, 2015, 05:55 AM
    Thanks for the replys. Sounds like getting some good topsoil in there is where to start. Fingers crossed.

    Thanks again for for taking the time to reply.
    teacherjenn4's Avatar
    teacherjenn4 Posts: 3,997, Reputation: 468
    Education Expert

    Dec 16, 2015, 09:37 PM
    I teach at a new school. Certain areas have trees that die and are continually replaced. A few feet away, the trees are alive. Is it drainage, poor soil? I'm not sure but no one has investigated and it's a shame to keep losing trees.

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