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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:24 am
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Location: Chester County, PA - Z6b
Hi all,

I planted this a year ago, and am much enjoying the fragrant blooms. By the end of last summer, it put on this very leggy growth, and now it's top heavy, hence the propping you see in the pic. It's unstable at the base, and the plant flops. It's only about 18" high. It's getting sufficient sun, for at least 1/2 the day. I read conflicting info. on the net (naturally) about pruning, never do it, yes, by all means do it. I figure do it, otherwise it's just going to be forever staked. I need to stablise the base if possible, maybe by adding enough soil just to pack it in so to speak ~ sound like a 'sound' idea?

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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 3:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:52 am
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Location: UK
Wow, that is leggy! As opposed to the normal top-heavy Daphne growth. Is it in the shade? Or maybe in rich soil? Or fertilised? Daphnes prefer full sun, some shade is necessary in hotter areas, and low fertility soil. They also prefer free-draining soil with frequent water, rather than a heavy soil that holds water. Not in PA you say? Well, as close as you can manage :)

Prune away. I'm a big believer that Daphnes that die after pruning were going to die anyway. People are often too quick to assume that a shrub died because of the last time they went near it. I don't see that you have much choice with this one, those stems are going to collapse anyway.

I'm a little concerned that you think it needs work at the base. Nothing you do to the surface layers of the soil is going to make any difference. Either the roots are deep enough and strong enough or the plant will fall over.

Try rooting cuttings from the pruned pieces. Not easy, but possible.


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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 4:04 pm 
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Location: Chester County, PA - Z6b
Hiya shrubs.....it's facing east, so it gets sun until about 2 or 3, when the sun goes behind my garage behind the rhodo, in the photo. It's also on a slope, no problem with drainage. I tilled 2-3" layer of mushroom soil into the clay bed last year before planting the bed out. I don't over water, just water when it gets dry under the mulch. No fertilizer.

Yeah, I'm gonna prune it, like you said, if it dies it won't be because of pruning. It's wobbly at base, but the roots don't seem to be right at the surface... I don't want to dig in far and find out :o

I'm confused shrubs... 'not in pa' ? Keystone State, in the land of the great Ben & Penn! :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 5:53 pm 
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Location: UK
Sorry about the PA joke. I just know that providing good conditions for semi-alpine plants is difficult in Pennsylvania :)

Daphne roots like to go straight down. It makes the plants fairly drought-resistant, although you get nicer plants by keeping them watered. I'm not familiar with exactly how the Carol Mackie roots go, it isn't my favourite plant. Its worth spending a little time on the roots when you plant, big roots in a small pot tend to get tangled and girdled.

I suspect the combination of clay and mushroom soil has provided too many nutrients. Avoid any fertiliser (certainly any fertiliser with nitrogen) and that should become less of an issue over time. Daphnes in general are alpine plants, thriving on thin soils. Carol Mackie is a cross between an alpine D. cneorum and a woodland D. caucasica, so it is more tolerant of garden conditions than many other Daphnes.


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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:13 am 
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Location: Chester County, PA - Z6b
Ok great, thanks shrubs ~ I won't fertilize it.

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 Post subject: Daphne pruning
PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 12:22 pm 
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Location: Calistoga, ca.
Daphne can push out new growth when cut back and can be made quite compact and well rounded. By all means root the soft to semi soft cuttings from your prunings. They have not been difficult for me. They root soon enough but are very slow growing the first two years. Al


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:57 pm 
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Location: Chester County, PA - Z6b
Update - proof that it works just fine! Here it is all flushed with new growth after pruning all those 'leggies'

I have 10 cuttings in soil, and just checked to find 1 is apparently rooted, it's not coming out when I tug...wahoo :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:41 pm 
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Location: UK
Perfect! I finally got D. odora cuttings to root this year. I'm always more confident when I've got a spare in the back ;)

Daphne tangutica and D. x. translatlantica are both blooming right now. I'm not sure why the tangutica is so late, weird spring weather I suppose.


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 Post subject: Daphne odora
PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:33 pm 
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Location: Calistoga, ca.
On the north side of my house I have D. odora in a box 3x3x3 made of redwood with no bottom. After 10 years the redwood was rotted away and I needed to do something. I did not want to replant the old Daphne so I tore the old redwood away. Two feet from the ground up was native clay soil with one foot of compost on top of that with the roots going down through the compost into the clay which was very dry and hard. This plant is watered with a dripper on a timer which seems to provide enough water for the roots without soaking up the clay. I add compost to the surface once a year but do not fertilize. I was able to build a new enclosure of concrete bricks like is used for retaining walls. The bricks interlock without the need for morter and each brick is only 8 inches wide and four inches high with a broken face of a tan color which matches the house. Al


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