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Zone 5
My yard always floods a little but this spring was brutal! Cool/cold, cloudy, rainy all March, April, May and even into June.

3, burgundy star ninebark all in a row. They’ve been in my yard for 4 years and doing good. 5ft tall. This spring they looked bad. All three had tiny sparse leaves all spring. Two now seem to be recovering. The 3rd one… all it’s leaves died and are falling off.
When I cut a branch it doesn’t seem dead though.

Is there any chance it could it come back next spring?

My neighbors cherry tree did the same thing and she just chopped it down!

Comments for Is it really dead?

Jul 14, 2019

by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Without knowing a bit more about where you are and what the winter was like in your area, I hesitate to say what the cause of the ‘death’ would be.

Flooding in poorly drained soils could certainly be an issue. Possibly this one plant was in a depression which collected more water. Physocarpus typically prefer sandy and well drained soil, a bit on the acid side if my location is anything to go by.

I wouldn’t be too hasty to dig it up. That will kill it for sure if it isn’t already dead. Be patient – these are tough plants. If you don’t see any new growth at all by the fall, maybe call it at that time.

Pay close attention to the crown of the plant – often the top growth dies back but the roots are still alive and will push out some new growth.

It will never match the others in size so if that’s important, replace it with a new plant of the same size.