Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm at a Loss...

Way back yonder in the days of old, also known as January, we planted five Brush Cherries (syzygium paniculatum).  The intent is for them to grow into a hedge which will act as a wall.  Between them, I am going to drop two posts into the ground and construct a gate.  Now, keep in mind, the well intentioned people at the nursery told me they get to about ten feet and would occasionally need to be clipped to maintain their hedge-like shape.

Upon returning home, we decided to look them up in the Sunset Western Garden book.  Something we probably should have done prior to going to the nursery.  They, apparently, grow like weeds to a height of thirty feet!!  The nursery's definition of occasionally pruning is Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Anyway, that is not the purpose of the post.  This is:

Notice the cherry on the left is full and healthy, such as Clive Owen.  The one on the right is the equivalent of Mr. Bean.  (Bean, if you are reading this, it's all out of love.)  Now, here are the other three:

They are similar to Bean, with the exception of the one in the middle which was broken in half by a storm shortly after planting.  Otherwise, it's similar to Owen.  Or, at least, his calves.

Now, these five cherries all receive the same fertilizer, water and sunlight, yet one (and a half) appear fine and the other three as if they really want to be somewhere else.  Here are some close ups of the foliage:



Now, they are growing, just not at the same velocity.  I did mention that they have all been treated the same.  Well, that's not exactly true.  The full sized Clive Owen has had one difference that the others have not.  Days after planting, we were hit by several days of storms.  Storms so severe, there were mudslides in burn areas and around the clock coverage of Storm Watch 2010!!!  (Cue ominous music.)  Those of you in Southern California know exactly what I'm talking about.

During these storms, stumpy was broken.  That's his problem.  The other three rolled in their holes.  All of them came with a stake (don't get me started on how much I hate staking), so I put them stake and all into the ground.  What I failed to do was drive the stake completely through the root ball into the solid ground.  The severity of the storm toppled the cherries and the rolled like a ball and socket joint inside the hole, except for Owen and his younger, shorter brother.  A few days later, I propped them all back up and drove 4 foot pieces of rebar through the root ball and into the solid earth.  This seems to have done the trick.

The three that rolled are the three that are not doing well.  I'm just hoping it's some type of shock (is there such a thing), and they'll spring back to life.  They weren't cheap.  And, I am.

P.S  Smashing victory this weekend by our (notice how I'm going from "my" to "our", as you have all now been assigned a favorite team) beloved Tottenham Hotspur completely outclassing the Evil Empire, known as Chelsea, 2-1.  It could have easily been five, but a win is a win.  Come on, you Spurs!


  1. I know what you mean about Storm Watch. Eeek, rain!!! The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Sorry about your brush cherries though. Hey, did you feel the 2.7 quake tonight? We had one a bit before 11 pm, centered in Costa Mesa only a few miles from us. No damage. --Lou Murray

  2. Be afraid. Be very afraid. We inherited two of these. They taste good. But we've already hacked the top half off, and it just shrugs and grows. If one doesn't make it, the others will fill in the gap. Bit like Cypress leylandii, which we don't have.

  3. Lou, we didn't feel the earthquake. The combination of a weekend of weeding and two little one's guarantees an early bed time.

    Elephant's Eye, I'm afraid I may have opened Pandora's box by planting these. I don't think I've upgraded myself any, as they are replacing a fence we took down which was covered in Creeping Fig! I think I've replaced one evil for another. At least it's good to know I can't kill them! HA!

  4. I would give them some time to recover, in case if the storm was to blame. Maybe, some of them were originally stronger than others. I bought three privet shrubs at once; two of them grow well, but one is just sitting there. The same place, same conditions, but... Good luck!

  5. I blame root rattle. Mind you, having just made that up, it might not be the case!

  6. Tatyana, that's what I'm hoping. We'll see if they come back over the summer.

    IG, I like it. "Root rattle" = "it's not my fault" I'm going with it.