Friday, June 07, 2013

Pieris parity

Around here, growing Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica) presents a balancing act between the benefits of eye-popping red foliage decked with elegantly draped racemes of delicate flowers . . . 

 . . . and a susceptibility towards root rot, scale insect infestation, and splitting branches.  For this particular "Mountain Fire" specimen, structural vulnerability hasn't been helped by a location that receives the crushing winter burden of snow displaced from the roof, driveway, and front walk.

When spring rolled around, it appeared half dead (to the right) and half alive (to the left).  Some heavy pruning was in order.

A garden helpmate took to binding the broken branches with masking tape.  A rough and ready treatment, perhaps, but the patient seems to be stable. Thank you, Dr.!

Non-surgical care is quite minimal: feeding in the spring and fall with a few handfuls of HollyTone, an application of composted manure around the roots, deadheading and, when I'm on top of garden chores, spraying for scale in the spring.

 And, as these happily leafing out "Carnival" and "Mountain Fire" specimens show, when they are good, they are very good.