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Young, healthy, established lavender plants suddenly die.



  • Well having a dog doesn't seem to deter just one ginger cat here, so I'm hoping the sonic deterrent works. I'll let you know!
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 10,928
    edited 22 July
    "Young, healthy, established lavender plants".

    I was musing on the title and am not sure what it suggests. Can you say more about how long they have been in the ground.. ? When you say "established" what do you mean?

    Given that lavenders (or some) grow on baking mountainsides I don't think under watering would be the problem unless they are fairly newly in. There are many types of lavenders...

    I wonder if the roots systems on the plants were not big enough to cope with the weirdities and intensities of the British weather this year. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,254
    Looking at the photos, the ground that l can see between the slate looks very dry. I suspect that the weird weather plus the slope means that they haven't had enough water, and that the rootball will be very dry when you take it out. (I may be wrong though !)
    Is there any chance of a more "long shot" to get an idea of the slope/general location please ?
  • Goodness, you are all very kind trying to sort out this problem for me, what a great forum. Sorry for the late reply, had to take my heart spray after carting buckets & watering cans full of water up Everest :p. This is the second year the plants have been in the ground, they flowered really well this year & looked lovely, well did. They are english lavender, (sorry if that doesn't help much).
    Have included a long photo of the garden, taken the begining of last year, it doesn't show the slope very well, but behind me are nine steps. The dying plants start just past the Dianthus on the left of the picture. It gets the sun most of the day, yes the photos taken today the ground does look dry, the temperatures we have had this week in Wales even I'm starting to look a little shriveled.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,254
    Thanks for posting another photo, it does help  :).
    It does also make a difference that they're English rather than French lavender, as the French types are more tender and can really struggle through a British winter. 
    I can see that there's no slate chippings on the bed last year, l suspect that they may be preventing any rain or water getting through to the roots. If you can (when it cools down), l'd suggest just clearing them away from the plants so the water can reach the roots. That way it still looks nice and decorative. You can also test how wet the soil is by sticking your finger in and seeing how far down the dampness goes. lf you want to avoid bending down, maybe a piece of bamboo cane would do, until the soil doesn't "give".
    This exceptional heat is making us all a little shrivelled :) and even long established plants in my garden are beginning to wilt.

    lf l might make a suggestion, would it be possible for you to take the buckets and watering cans out in the morning before the heat builds too much, and with several breaks for a rest ?
    I don't know how feasible it would be to have a drip hose system set up for future use, maybe look into that perhaps. 
    One of my neighbours has a heart condition and he had one installed, he says it's a godsend. 
    It does seem that the heatwave is coming to an end at least for the time being, hopefully this will lead to the plants picking up.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,579
    I think the damage may also have been done over winter, and there's just been a combination of things going on. You possibly have quite similar weather/climate to what we have here. Even a fairly 'standard' winter here can annihilate lavender. Wet weather in spring and into summer produces a lot of lush growth, so they can look quite good at that point, but come autumn/winter, they often don't thrive at all, because that lush growth then gets hammered. They can get very woody, very quickly, die back, and generally look rubbish. Very hit and miss. 
    It's often the length of time that's a big factor when it comes to weather - whether hot, cold, wet or dry. For example, the odd light frost does little to no harm, even to less hardy plants. Continuous frost for a week is entirely different. There's also a huge difference between a plant naturally occurring somewhere, and one which is bought and planted. 
    If they were young, small plants last year, it may have been a bridge too far for them to cope with a slightly colder winter [we had a more normal winter here, so it may have been the same for you?]  as the root systems may still have been immature. As I said earlier, most Dianthus are generally much more forgiving with weather and soil conditions.  :)

    @AnniD's suggestion for watering sounds great, so hopefully you can look into that as a solution for the future. Good luck  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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