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I Have Several Small Burning Bushes That I’ve Planted In…

James Asked

I have several small burning bushes that I’ve planted in a sloping back yard. I have attempted with all the rain to trench away the rain we have had in abundance, knowing that they need to be in well-drained soil. They don’t seem to be doing very well and I need advice as to what I might do for them.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, James: The amount of rainfall that we received earlier this month broke records, so at least we know this will not be a normal occurrence. As long as every time it rains your plantings are not in standing water, it should not be a problem. It sounds like there is a natural slope to the land and this will help with the drainage. If there is standing water every time it rains, then that is more of a concern. To help with this, you can amend your soil with a product such as Permatill, which is an expanded slate material. When it is mixed into the existing soil, it will help to break up the clay and improve the drainage. Check with your local garden centers to see if they carry this product. Are these new additions to the garden? If so, they need to be given a bit of extra attention until they have enough time to become established. What about them does not look healthy? You are correct in saying that burning bush (Euonymus) needs well-drained soil. The concern here would be if they are living in consistently saturated soil, the roots will rot and the plants will eventually die so dealing with the drainage would be the first step in maintaining healthy plants. Ideally they should be planted in full sun for best fall color.

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