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Old October 4th, 2007, 01:12 PM
Valery41 Valery41 is offline
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ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

I am having a problem with newly planted (about a month) escallonia compackta or Newport Dwarf, a glossy leaf plant with pink flowers. They were blooming when I planted them; they came out of 5 gallon containers. The leaves and flowers are now all crispy on the top and branches are breaking off. I've been watering regularly on a drip system. I live on the central coast of CA and was assured that these plants do well in our area.

I'm very new to gardening so please excuse my ignorance. But I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me what I'm doing wrong. I don't want to lose these 6 or 7 plants. Tx, Val
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Old October 4th, 2007, 04:24 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

I have seen indications the two names do not actually apply to the same introduction, the use of the two together being a mistake but anyway---

Your plants have probably dried out, the coarse potting soil rootballs shedding water to the finer-textured surrounding soil after planting out. Pop one out and plunge it in a pail of clean water, I bet you will find it was very dry at the root, with large air bubbles bursting out when it is immersed. If this proves to be the case, lift and soak them all, and loosen the roots before replanting. Also apply a mulch near (but not on) the plants after replanting, to shade and cool the soil - this aids in moisture retention - if you have not put a mulch on the bed already. (If there is a mulch present, rake it aside before lifting the plants. You don't want to bury mulch around the roots of plants).

If the rest of the plants on the drip line look normal than presumably there is not a problem with the irrigation setup - unless the escallonias are all on a separate section that may have become plugged.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 05:14 PM
Valery41 Valery41 is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Ron, thank you so much for your advice. I guess we know what I'm doing the first thing tomorrow morning. My escallonia are planted in sand, so maybe the difference in textures of soil (potting material vs. sand) is the problem. I did have mulch around each plant up to the stalk, is that okay, or should I move the mulch 6 or so inches from the plant?
Also, how do I tell what the correct plant name is? How do I tell if it's a "compacta" or a "Newport Dwarf"? Tx again, Val
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Old October 4th, 2007, 08:53 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

You'd have to research the two and decide if they are the same plant or different. World won't end if you don't.

Yes, you want to keep mulch off of stems.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 06:25 PM
Valery41 Valery41 is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Ron, I took the 3 worst looking escallonias out being careful not to let the mulch (it's actually a dirt that has a little bit of wood in it) gather around the rootball...I put sandy dirt there. They did bubble up as you suggested although the rootball was plenty moist on the outside. I immersed each one in water to check for bubbling, then I loosened the rootball as much as I dared...I didn't want to cut too many roots. I immersed it again and replanted it. I set the drip spigot close to the stem so the water would get down the middle of the rootball. I'm going to give them a week or so to see how they do before I tackle the other ones.

Should I cut the dead or dieing foliage off now or wait until it seems established? Tx, Val
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Old October 8th, 2007, 10:51 PM
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janetdoyle janetdoyle is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Up here in Victoria BC some quite small Newport Dwarf Escallonias were planted in a condominium common area, not actually in an especially sunny place but with some late-day sun, in spring, and at first they withered up and looked dreadful -- planted by a landscaper, too. I don't think they got watered. Then, they began to look better as summer progressed [and got wetter]. These are promoted as troublefree shrubs and maybe they are, but I think they take a while to establish.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 11:05 PM
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Additional info: As a new gardener, your mulch: you said it's "dirt that has a little bit of wood in it". Should be good if not all coarse wood chips, there is a fine type which is ground up more and landscapers mix in some composted material [rotted and aged leaf compost and plant cuttings, manure, etc. to keep up the natural fertilizer level in it] -- although the big wood chips type is ok too, if the soil underneath is pretty good -- often used just for decoration.

I wondered about the cutting out of dead twigs, too, and someone said I should cut it out -- this was for a Hebe shrub which had begun to die, sitting in a swampy spot, and has about a third of it gone brown --which I just have transplanted, not wanting to throw it away yet. I thought perhaps the green new growth might appear on some of the branches with dead leaves -- but perhaps not.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 02:06 PM
Valery41 Valery41 is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Janet, I shook out the dry leaves and snipped a few brown branches off. It's only been a few days since the transplant so I'm hoping the escallonia will establish itself and start growing. Since winter is coming soon, does this mean that they might go dormant for a couple of months here in CA on the coast?
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Old October 9th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Yes. I would expect that they might just sit there and not do much until your growth season, whenever that is, the very early spring months, starting Feb. maybe? Not sure what your climate is like in the winter months. Then, the roots will have started to acclimatize and the growth should start -- that root growth should get started gradually now, so keep it moist. A phosphorus-heavy [second element in the 3-way formula of fertilizer] garden fertilizer is supposed to help root development, so you might consider adding some of that into the soil [either granular, the easy way, or diluted in water] around the plants, trowel it in a bit under the mulch. First check on the web to see if there is any warning about them not liking phosphorus -- I bought an Australian shrub which came with an anti-phosphorus warning. I have used "superphosphate" available in garden stores sparingly in the past for plants -- but don't overdo it. Then keep moist, but turn your back and wait patiently for spring/summer!
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Old October 9th, 2007, 06:16 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

Skip the phosphorus unless indicated by soil test. Keep dirt out of mulch and vice versa. Coarse mulches preferable to fine. Additional discussion:

http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%2...les/index.html
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Old October 9th, 2007, 10:16 PM
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

That's interesting -- you see, there speaks true knowledge. Certainly adding anything to the soil without knowing what kind of soil you have, is kind of a dumb thing for us all to do, isn't it, but we do tend to do it. Our landscaper uses a fine mulch with compost additives and it seems to be successful. What about the so-called myth that mulches tend to break down and use up all the nitrogen in so doing, and that one must compensate for that? No wonder new gardeners get so confused. Probably just keeping the Escallonia moist [mulching would help], and hoping for the best is now the right thing to do. In Nova Scotia one can use too much mulch and end up with a kind of nasty slimey mould growth under it. I have to confess to finding mulches annoying and a lot of work, as they always need to be scraped away and then put back, etc., etc.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 10:47 PM
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

That website Ron B provided has an interesting list of gardening "myths" about additives to the soil, etc., and is well worth reading. Makes one think that a bit of manure and a little water is all one should bother with. I checked around webwise on Escallonia and it seems it may be a bit temperamental, this forum has comments on that, and that one should wait patiently to see it established even though there may be setbacks with certain types of weather conditions, such as cold-temperature damage. Gardening is amazing as a teacher of patience and balance.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 10:49 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

I wouldn't pick it up and then put it back. Mold underneath sounds like the mulch was too fine and airless, like grass clippings. Coarse mulches resist compaction and remain aerated, although in the forest ground litter layers can get pretty hammered down by drip from tall trees - without preventing the trees and other plants from growing. And that's what a mulch is, a garden version of the litter layer in natural areas. It's usual for places other than desert sites and barrens and balds to have a litter layer that blankets the soil, the soil system and wild plants growing in it operate with this ground covering as a regular feature.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 11:01 PM
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Re: ESCALLONIA COMPACTA: DWARF ESCALLONIA. (Escallonia 'Compakta' or 'Newport Dwarf')

That's a very nice explanation for the proper functioning of mulch. I guess what's being used on my areas here must be really a type of soil rather than mulch, strictly. I thought about the former situation with the slimey mould under it, and NOW I remember it was seaweed spread on a garden, I mean real seaweed off the Nova Scotia beach, and although when dug in to rot with the regular soil it did wonders for a vegetable garden it did cause this mould as a mulch while I was still inexperienced -- I will use a coarse one henceforth. My only question is when having planted little pots of groundcover like Elfin Thyme, about 6 inches to 12 inches apart at the edges and planning to wait for them to join up as groundcover under some shrubs and a cherry tree in a small front garden, as worked well in a small patio enclosure, a coarse mulch seems too heavy a thing to put on and I am afraid of it affecting the growth of the groundcover adversely and I so far have just waited without any mulch to see the groundcover develop its coverage. I made the soil quite compostey to start with.
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