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Is this chaenomeles sick?\

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  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,093
    Where abouts do you live? I'm in London and mine is just finishing. Does yours have any flower or leaf buds at all?
  • HeyJudeHeyJude Posts: 22
    I planted this chaenomeles about 3 years ago not long after moving in. I had a wonderful one in my last house. Thought it could act as a screen between us and next door as well as having lovely flowers in very early spring/late winter when there's not much else in flower. Its by the front door.However its hardly grown and is very spindly. It gets sun until 2-3 pm. It was competing next to a very large forsythia which I got rid of the following year. I try to keep a circumference free around it ( golden rod grows next to it, and there's a large hebe-no flowers ): in front which I have just trimmed back) Unfortunately lots of bluebells are close by but I didn't think they'd compete. I thought I'd planted it at least 12" away from the wall behind.(The sun is the other side of that fence all morning until it goes behind the bungalow in the afternoon) New neighbours next door now, I think they may be about to put in photinia on their side.. Shall I move the chaenomeles( have I given it long enough to settle in?) and try something else there?  Clay soil. Something with a nice smell? Evergreen if poss? Any suggestions welcomed.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,484
    Its a bit swallowed up by what looks like  bluebell leaves. What is the problem with it? No leaves? Or actually dying?  Theres a lot of competition there for food and light. 
  • HeyJudeHeyJude Posts: 22
    Yes its had a few flowers and it has a few leaves. Yes surrounded by bluebells. I think its struggling... I wondered whether to feed and give it one more year, or dig it up and put it somewhere else, try something else here?
  • HeyJudeHeyJude Posts: 22
    I'm in Penarth, near Cardiff
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,501
    Scratch the bark with your thumbnail on a few of the branches. If it's green underneath it's alive.
    Make sure you try more than one in case you picked the only dead one.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • HeyJudeHeyJude Posts: 22
    Yep the branch that looked dead is green when scratched, the other branch has leaves and looks more healthy.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,484
    edited April 2018
    I would take the blue bells out moving them somewhere else and give it a good feed and mulch with some compost. See if that helps it make new growth. 

    They prefer a neutral soil so a limey soil would not be good. Maybe a dose of liquid seaweed would perk it up. 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,093
    I guess it depends how much you like the plant. Do you want to keep it and try reviving it? Do you have a sunnier spot you could try it in? If you like the plant a lot and want to give it some extra attention for the next couple of years and have somewhere better it could go, then, I would say, go for it. If you dig it up, take as much of the root system as you can with it. See how it looks - is it extensive and happy-looking? If it looks healthy and you don't want it, I would give it to someone who would like it and has a spot. I've had some come back from the dead to go on and thrive.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639
    If you want to have it act as a screen, I'm assuming you were wanting it to grow as a wall shrub rather than a rounded shrub? Whether wall or free standing shrub, you need to prune it and lose some flowers for the first few years. The way the branches are forming, it looks like you have left it exactly as it was originally, which lacks branching and has formed weak spindly branches. Pruning back encourages more side shoots, which means more branches for later.

    It also sounds like your plant is lacking in sun. The soil may be too compacted and water logged. Both can stunt the growth. If you are keeping it there, you will need to remove some of the plants away from its base and start mulching the base every spring. I believe the plant can do better if you look into soil conditions, competing plants and pruning.
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